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Fall 2015

Mezcal’s Dance with Extinction

Our burly white pickup truck is rolling down the highway about ten miles east of Oaxaca, Mexico, when the ominous dilemma that will define the future of mezcal rises into view. To my left, sitting beside me on the pickup’s bench seat, are Cuauhtémoc Lopez, a mezcal maker who is carrying on his family’s traditional…

Story and photography by GRACE RUBENSTEIN

Fall 2015

The Bonsai Kid

At six o’clock on a July morning, during one of the hottest stretches in northwest Oregon’s recorded history, Ryan Neil trots out the door of his hilltop home and down a short gravel path in his nursery to check on more than a million dollars worth of small, delicate trees. Neil is a professional bonsai…

By NANCY LEBRUN

Summer 2015

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

Spring 2015

Food Shift

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

By CHRISTOPHER D. COOK

Winter 2020, Winter 2015

The Carbon Gatherer

The carbon trading market is heating up again, and a lot of people who have been figuring out ways to grab carbon dioxide out of the air are back in the game. California’s John Wick may well be at the head of the pack.

By CHARLIE SILER

Winter 2015

Your Salad’s Difficulty with Sustainable Farming

No matter how organic your shopping is, when you sit down to a plate of leafy greens, chances are you are supporting farming methods that contribute to global warming. There are, however, other options.

By TODD OPPENHEIMER
Cover photo by TEXASRANCHERGIRL.COM
Italy photos courtesy of the RODALE INSTITUTE

Winter 2015

The Many Stripes of Sustainable Agriculture

Was Jared Diamond right to call agriculture the worst mistake of the human race? Industrial agriculture vastly expanded the world’s food supply, but it’s also based on a fossil fuel economy that is slowly running out of juice. Are the alternatives like this “permaculture” operation in Wisconsin ready for prime time?

By JESSICA CAREW KRAFT
Cover photo by NEWFORESTFARM.NET

Winter 2015

A Brand New Idea for Commodity Exports

For years, a handful of enterprising grain farmers in the Midwest have been making huge strides–ecologically as well as financially–by managing to farm without plows and other invasive “tilling” machinery. Their achievements point to the possibility of a very different balance in global commodity trading markets.

By TODD OPPENHEIMER

Winter 2015

The Bug Whisperer

Mark Sturges doesn’t advertise and clients have to find him by word of mouth, but find him they do. He’s become a master of an agricultural art as old as agriculture itself: basic compost.

By KRISTIN OHLSON
Photography by MARK STURGES and KRISTIN OHLSON

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