How Volunteers Turn Unwanted Produce Into Meals For 5,000 People

The mounds of eggplant that hit the chopping room floor on Tuesday didn’t look like much. They, along with the carrots, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and onions that flooded in for processing that morning, were too large, misshapen or otherwise on-their-way-out to display uniformly on a grocery store shelf.

But, in the hands of the Feeding The 5000 event crew and dozens and dozens of volunteers, the 2,000 pounds of otherwise wasted produce became its own sort of miracle: the pièce de résistance of an event aimed at transforming not only “ugly” vegetables, but also our mindsets about them. Bonus? Some of Washington, D.C.'s top chefs helped turn them ...

Millennials Move Home to Farm Their Parents’ Lawns

Almost anything is better than grass. That's the message the creators of Yardfarmers are hoping to get across in a forthcoming reality TV show centered on six twentysomethings who move back in with their parents and tear up their lawns.

“I’m trying to coin a new word here,” says Erik Assadourian. As a senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute, Assadourian is charged with transforming culture. But after years of churning out reports encouraging Americans to eat and live with the environment in mind, he decided the message needed a bigger, more Kardashian-like stage. The concept for Yardfarmers was born.

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Farmer Finds Bugs, Perspective on World Farm Tour

Last July, Joneve Murphy left a comfortable post an as in-house farmer at one of Washington, D.C.’s top restaurants to embark on an international tour de farms. While she knows how to grow obscure peppers and microgreens to top elaborate dishes, she had a feeling this wasn’t going to help feed the world, and she was curious about the farming practices that might.

She returned to the states this spring with a taste for bugs—or at least for their farmed potential—and a growing understanding of the best and worst agricultural practices the world over.

During nine months in more than a dozen Asian and European countries, Murphy, 35, stretched her understanding—and ours—of how food is grown, ...

Brass Tacks: How Seed Suppliers Pick Their Fields

Twice a year, a handful of representatives from as many seed companies gather ‘round a toy-sized tractor to draw numbers from it. It’s the NFL draft of the seed-growing world tucked into a fertile corner of Washington state–and it's pretty mild-mannered, in comparison.

The numbers drawn from the tractor determine who gets first pick in the field, represented by a sprawling map on the wall, marked with–you guessed it–brass thumbtacks and red yarn, the same way it has been done for the last 60 years.

This biannual “pinning day” emerged to replace the land grabbing and fist fighting that once determined where seeds were sown in Northwest Washington. The region’s moderate climate and long summer ...

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