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Food Shift

In an era of chronic drought, could desert crops become the new sustainable dinner?

By CHRISTOPHER D. COOK

Listen to “The Revival of Nero’s Wine”

Throughout history vintners used clay vessels to age their wine, until the French discovered the marvels of the oak barrel. Now—for fun, for distinctly different flavors, and to save some fine old trees—a few wineries are giving clay a second chance, Roman style.

Listen to “Food Shift”

California, where much of our nation’s food is produced, is facing a historic drought — again. It’s become a familiar refrain, year after year, and the growing climate crisis is only expected to make things worse. Our food system has to change, and a few forward-thinking farmers are adopting some ancient, low-water agricultural techniques for…

Straw Bale Construction: The Ultra-Ecological House

Every few years, discussions about using straw bales as a building material come up again. As our environmental challenges mount—from wildfires to hurricanes—straw bales seem to offer a sustainable answer. And as we in the American West seem to find ourselves in “fire season” earlier with each passing year, it’s time to ask: Has the humble straw bale’s moment finally come?

By MEA MCNEIL

Listen to “Mezcal’s Dance with Extinction”

Now that the tequila craze has crested, the latest Latin liquor to capture the world’s alcoholic imagination is tequila’s grandfather: mezcal. But an explosion of authentic mezcal is impossible—for reasons our correspondent discovers when she goes to Oaxaca to learn how this hyper-local spirit can be sustained.

When Indigenous Women Win

In a small, indigenous Mexican community in the mountains of Michoacán, a band of determined women led the overthrow of a criminal cartel. Their victory gave the town a new sense of purpose by reviving its traditional livelihood, its capacity for self-government, and its communal spirit.

Story and photography by ANDREW SULLIVAN

The Vegetable Detective

A molecular biologist is finding what could be dangerous levels of heavy metals in plants like kale, often called the “queen” of the vegetable kingdom. And they’ve shown up the most in organic varieties.

Story by TODD OPPENHEIMER
Photography by CLAIRE BLOOMBERG

Listen to “The Vegetable Detective”

It’s 2015, and in the health and wellness world, the Kale Craze is in full swing — people are eating, roasting, blending, and juicing it. But one molecular biologist in Marin County stumbles upon evidence that this queen of greens might be hiding toxic levels of certain heavy metals. And it’s even worse in organic…

How to Garden the Great Dixter Way

Great Dixter offers a mixture of courses for gardeners of all levels who want to learn the concepts of Dixter-style gardening, and how to put them into action in their own gardens. Dominique Browning, ex-editor of House and Garden magazine, wrote of her 2011 symposium at Great Dixter, “To spend a week gardening there is…

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