Since the communist revolution of 1959, Cuba has been on an economic rollercoaster. The country has lurched from dependency to self-sufficiency, in a bubble of isolation where technological time stopped. Our correspondent, who in 2016 visited the artists and self-taught engineers who have kept Cuba running throughout its bizarre ride, updates us on Cuba’s declining fortunes in the years since.
Written and photographed by ROB WATERS
While many gardeners take their flowers seriously, few devote almost all of their time to growing one breed—the dahlia—then drive hundreds of miles to go mano a mano against other fanatical growers, for nothing more than a blue ribbon. But that’s exactly what Deborah Dietz does.
Written by THOMAS COOPER
Photography by JAK WONDERLY
In Providence, Rhode Island, Janice McDonnell started one of the unlikeliest of revolutions. On seven empty lots in the inner city, she set up a new kind of playground—places where kids could build anything they want, break anything they want. Her larger goals? To fight the disappearance of free play brought on by the relentless testing that’s become the norm in today’s schools—and to spread playful opportunities to all children, not just those from wealthy white families.
Written by TODD OPPENHEIMER
The blind spots in the American West’s approach to managing water are on full display in Ventura County, a coastal region of Central California that holds the most lucrative farmland in the state.
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.
In a small, Indigenous community in the mountains of Michoacán, Mexico, 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
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
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…
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…