For generations, the Isbell family of Arkansas has been tinkering with innovations in rice farming. They were the first American farmers to grow elite varieties of rice for sushi and sake, and have pioneered rice cultivation methods that can conserve water and slow climate change.
Story by DAVID RAMSEY
Photography by KAT WILSON
Everyone in the fashion world wants to find a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way to make cotton clothing—or a benign (and equally comfy) alternative to it. In Scandinavia, an enterprising cadre of materials scientists is on the brink of succeeding. But almost no one appreciates these innovations’ social costs.
Story and photography by ALDEN WICKER
While the United States and other prosperous countries have struggled to keep their honeybees alive, Greece—a country suffering from a decade of intense economic troubles—continues to produce what many consider the world’s finest honey. What’s the Greeks’ secret? And why can’t honey producers in wealthier countries keep up?
By ROB WATERS
Since 2010, Kelly Carlisle has been breaking new ground—literally— for youngsters in East Oakland and beyond, using an urban farm to inspire them to engage with the world as curious citizens. “Part of my work,” she says, “is to make sure we expand their worldview.”
By WILL CALLAN
Driven primarily by health, Black vegan restaurateurs are creating plant-based versions of soul food that avoid meat, salty fats, and other bodily evildoers, while still retaining the succulence and rich memories of those beloved old family recipes. And in some cases, the turn to the vegan lifestyle is also turning some lives around.
By TERRY COLLINS
Confined to our homes during the Covid-19 quarantine, many of us have realized this is an ideal time to start baking our own bread. The idea has spread so fast that stores are running out of flour and yeast. But fear not. Resources abound for how to make your own yeast, and even your own flour.
By TODD OPPENHEIMER
Photos by ERIC WOLFINGER
In a small town outside Torino, Italy, the age-old Vermouth giant, Martini & Rossi has turned this beverage into a model of what might be called industrial spirits craftsmanship. Our correspondent goes visiting, then returns stateside to watch a small one-man shop create the modern artisanal version. What are differences, and why do they matter?
By LAURA FRASER
The word artisanal has become so shopworn that it’s almost devoid of meaning. (To wit: we once saw a pizza outlet on the outskirts of a small town in northern France that was fashioned in the style of an ATM-kiosk under the following sign: “Artisanal Pizza.”) In stark contrast to this sorry state of affairs, we would like to suggest a few items for holiday shopping made by some of the masters we profiled in 2016.
By SHARON TILLEY
The blind spots in the American West’s water systems are in full display in Ventura County, a coastal region of Central California that happens to hold the most lucrative farmland in the state. Equally abundant, and somewhat in progress, are opportunities for enlightenment. Which path will prevail?
By CRAWFORD COATES