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  • Is the coronavirus pandemic Mother Nature’s revenge?

    Is the coronavirus pandemic Mother Nature’s revenge?

    On the 50th Earth Day, it’s long past time to recognize that this overcrowded planet has run out of room to cut us any slack. By Alan Weisman Originally published in the Boston Globe Magazine, April …

  • Back to the Garden

    Back to the Garden

    Alan Weisman reconsiders the Genesis story in the light of what we now know came after it. His essay originally appeared in the 2018 book “Eden Turned on Its Side” by photographer Meridel Rubenstein.

  • The Homelands Blog

    The strawberries on your breakfast cereal might not taste so sweet if you knew how bitter life can be for the folks who pick them. As if backbreaking labor and extremely low wages weren’t enough, strawberry workers are …

  • The Homelands Blog

    Homelands’ co-founder and senior producer Alan Weisman is spending nearly a month in Colombia and Ecuador giving talks and interviews about his two most recent books, The World Without Us and Countdown.

  • The Homelands Blog

    This month, as part of a special issue on the environment, VICE Magazine asked leading thinkers to weigh in with their ideas about what to do about climate change. Below is Homelands’ Alan Weisman‘s essay, based …

  • The Homelands Blog

    What if we could transform sand, salt water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide into soil, fresh water, vegetables, trees, biofuel, and electricity? That’s what an ambitious Norwegian-led initiative has been doing in the desert near Doha for the last two …

  • Countdown


    In this monumental piece of reporting, Alan Weisman travels to more than 20 countries, beginning in Israel and Palestine and ending in Iran, on an urgent search for ways to restore the balance between our species’ population and our planet’s capacity to sustain us.

  • Alt Meat Lunch

    Alt Meat Lunch

    As global demand for animal protein surges, so do the environmental costs of producing it. Researchers in the Netherlands are exploring alternatives, from lab-grown burgers to edible insects to faux meat made from plants. But will people eat them?

  • Foraged Lunch

    Foraged Lunch

    In Seattle and other U.S. cities, a movement is growing to bring foraging from the margins to the mainstream as a hedge against climate change and food insecurity.

  • Intensive Lunch

    Intensive Lunch

    Farmers in India say a novel way of growing rice and other crops has quadrupled yields while using less seed, water, and fertilizer. But some scientists doubt the gains are real.

  • Recycled Lunch

    Recycled Lunch

    In India, some farmers are replacing chemical fertilizers with the contents of their latrines. It’s cheaper and produces less greenhouse gas. Is it safe?

  • Low-Water Lunch

    Low-Water Lunch

    Growing more food with less water will be one of the biggest challenges in the coming era of surging populations and increasing climate disruption. In China, scientists say they’ve developed a new irrigation method that’s twice as efficient as today’s best technology.

  • Carbon-Neutral Lunch

    Carbon-Neutral Lunch

    Since announcing that it would become the world’s first carbon-neutral country, Costa Rica has been a laboratory for reducing the climate impact of agriculture.

  • Aquaponic Lunch

    Aquaponic Lunch

    Aquaponics is a recirculating system for raising fish and vegetables that uses less land, water, and chemicals than traditional methods. For years it has attracted hobbyists but few others. A Ugandan entrepreneur thinks its time has finally come.

  • Vegan Lunch

    Vegan Lunch

    Meat consumption in China is soaring, and so are the greenhouse gas emissions that meat production causes. But there is a nascent counter-trend – a small but growing vegan movement in the country’s big cities.

  • Alt Staple Lunch

    Alt Staple Lunch

    Amaranth virtually disappeared from Mexican diets after the Spanish banned it because of its use in human sacrifice rituals. Now there are efforts to bring it back for its superior nutritional qualities and its hardiness in the face of climate change.

  • Desert Lunch

    Desert Lunch

    In the desert of Qatar, scientists and engineers are working to transform “what we have enough of” – sand, sunlight, sea water, and CO2 – into “what we need more of” – energy, fresh water, and food. Does their idea hold promise for the world’s driest places?

  • California Looks to Milk China’s Dairy Demand

    California Looks to Milk China’s Dairy Demand

    As U.S. demand falls, California dairies are finding new markets in China. That may make sense for the industry, at least for now. But what about the planet?

  • Transgenic Lunch

    Transgenic Lunch

    Scientists in the U.S. and Uganda have developed genetically engineered cassava plants that resist two devastating viral diseases. Is it a boon for small farmers or a Trojan horse?

  • Farmers in India Find Promise in Ancient Seeds

    Farmers in India Find Promise in Ancient Seeds

    In India, climate change is forcing farmers to adapt to saltwater intrusion, flooding, and droughts. Scientists are racing to breed a new generation of climate-resilient crops that can survive these changes. But many farmers are turning to the seeds that sustained their ancestors.

  • In Search for Food, Singapore Looks Skyward

    In Search for Food, Singapore Looks Skyward

    In Singapore, the challenge of feeding a growing population is pushing the concept of urban farming to new heights.

  • Could Agriculture Bloom in the Desert?

    Could Agriculture Bloom in the Desert?

    Petroleum-rich Qatar has welcomed innovators seeking solutions to the challenges facing desert areas worldwide, from renewable energy to fresh water to food production.

  • No-Waste Lunch

    No-Waste Lunch

    Agriculture is the third-largest emitter of global greenhouse gas pollution. Yet roughly one-third of what we produce is never eaten. Cutting down on waste is a major challenge in China, where a grassroots “Clean Your Plate” campaign is taking aim at deeply ingrained attitudes toward leftovers.

  • Costa Rica Farmers See Value in Biodiversity

    Costa Rica Farmers See Value in Biodiversity

    Scientists in Costa Rica are finding that biodiversity on and around farms can increase yields, lower input needs, and provide protection against environmental stresses.

  • Cafeteria Lunch

    Cafeteria Lunch

    Some of the biggest players in the sustainable food movement are food service companies with the buying power to change the way millions of people eat every day.

  • Vertical Lunch

    Vertical Lunch

    A new super-efficient vertical farming system is producing greens for Singapore’s 5 million residents. Inventor Jack Ng hopes to increase local food security while helping cut down on the climate impact of food production.

  • Taking the Climate Fight to the Table

    Taking the Climate Fight to the Table

    Low-emissions cooking aims to slow global warming, one plate at a time. A celebrated Baltimore chef and an expert in climate-friendly cuisine join forces on a holiday meal.

  • China Strains to Satisfy Demand for Meat

    China Strains to Satisfy Demand for Meat

    China’s growing appetite for meat and dairy is driving big changes in everything from farming to food safety. For the country’s increasingly wary consumers, those changes can’t happen quickly enough.

  • Greece’s Diet Crisis

    Greece’s Diet Crisis

    The traditional diet on the island of Crete is one of the healthiest in the world. Trouble is, almost nobody follows it any more. And obesity rates are soaring, especially among kids.

  • Africa’s Supermarket Sweepstakes

    Africa’s Supermarket Sweepstakes

    The spread of modern grocery chains could lift millions of African farmers out of poverty. Or it could ruin them.

  • Spilled and Spoiled in California

    Spilled and Spoiled in California

    About of one-third of all the food we produce is never eaten. In the developing world, losses tend to occur at the production end. In the U.S., it’s consumers who waste the most.

  • Spilled and Spoiled in Senegal

    Spilled and Spoiled in Senegal

    How we limit food waste and losses depends on where we live. Jori Lewis visits small-scale milk producers in Senegal.

  • The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers

    The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers

    Americans love hamburgers. They’re tasty, filling, and cheap. But not if you consider the damage they do to the planet.

  • Vietnam Fish Farms Look for Future-Friendly Formula

    Vietnam Fish Farms Look for Future-Friendly Formula

    More than half the seafood eaten in the world today is farmed, not wild. As demand for protein soars, scientists and fish producers look to lessen the impact of factory farming.

  • Re-Greening the Sahel

    Re-Greening the Sahel

    In Niger, farmers race to reclaim the desert and break the link between drought and famine.

  • Graying Farmers Force Japan to Rethink Food System

    Graying Farmers Force Japan to Rethink Food System

    As the average age of its farmers creeps into the 70s, Japan grapples with a question that many industrialized nations now face: Who will grow our food in the future?

  • Soil is Ground Zero in African Farming Debate

    Soil is Ground Zero in African Farming Debate

    In Africa, a debate is raging over the best ways to make small farms more productive. Most people agree that soil is the key. But how to boost fertility? Farmers in Ghana face tough choices.

  • Water Man

    Water Man

    Fast-growing India is pumping its aquifers dry. Rajendra Singh says solutions will come from the ground up.

  • Brazil Delivers on Hunger Promise

    Brazil Delivers on Hunger Promise

    In 2003, the Brazilian government declared that food was a basic human right. Then it found that ending hunger takes a lot more than a declaration.

  • Business Fund Puts African Farmers on Road to Market

    Business Fund Puts African Farmers on Road to Market

    A start-up in East Africa aims to give small-scale producers the tools they need to compete – and business is booming.

  • In Ethiopia, a Battle for Land and Water

    In Ethiopia, a Battle for Land and Water

    A controversial resettlement program in Ethiopia is the latest battleground in the global race to secure prized farmland and water.

  • Philippines: Too Many Mouths?

    Philippines: Too Many Mouths?

    Once a leading rice producer, the Philippines can no longer feed itself. That leaves two options: increase supply or try to do something about demand.

  • Turning the Population Tide

    Turning the Population Tide

    When Filipino fishing families got access to birth control, the effects were dramatic: more food, kids in school, and a new will to defend their reefs.

  • Egypt’s Growing Pains

    Egypt’s Growing Pains

    More than one million Egyptian farmers have quit the land in the last 20 years, reshaping the country’s physical and political landscape.

  • In Egypt, Food for a Revolution

    In Egypt, Food for a Revolution

    Egyptians used to grow nearly all their own food. Today, the country relies on imports. The people on the street aren’t happy.

  • Food for 9 Billion: The Scientific Challenge

    Food for 9 Billion: The Scientific Challenge

    Nearly every prescription for feeding the world says we need to invest more money in science. What’s that money going to get us?

  • Chocolate Taster

    Chocolate Taster

    Chloé Doutre-Roussel is in great demand around the world – not just because of her extraordinary palate and her memory for scents and flavors but because of her brutal honesty. “Diplomacy is not one of my known traits,” she laughs. Nor is self-satisfaction.

  • Lobster Diver

    Lobster Diver

    Romulo Greham, a Miskito Indian on Honduras’ Caribbean coast, almost lost his life while diving for lobsters for the U.S. market. Now he’s trying to keep other divers from the repeating his mistakes.

  • A Bean of a Different Color

    A Bean of a Different Color

    How a humble bean spurred an international trade dispute and served as a metaphor for mounting intellectual property battles in the new global economy.

  • The Paint Factory

    The Paint Factory

    Townsfolk debate the fate of an abandoned 19th century paint factory on Gloucester’s inner harbor. It’s symbolic of a larger debate over Gloucester’s economic and cultural identity.

  • Lost at Sea

    Lost at Sea

    Over the last four centuries, Gloucester has lost, on average, one fisherman every thirteen days. The memory of the dead, and the knowledge that there will be more, have always haunted the town and its people.

  • St. Peter’s Fiesta

    St. Peter’s Fiesta

    For nine nights each summer, the Italian-Americans of Gloucester gather to pray to the patron saint of fishermen. It’s been a tradition since the 1920s. But with the depletion of the fish stocks, townsfolk are beginning to contemplate a very different future.

  • The Penny Fish and the Multinational

    The Penny Fish and the Multinational

    Gloucester was once one of the greatest fishing ports on earth. Today it’s a gritty place where fishermen struggle to make a living. A debate over a proposed foreign-owned herring processing plant casts light on the challenges facing a town – and an industry – in transition.

  • Miracle Farmer

    Miracle Farmer

    In India, where signs of faith are everywhere, a deeply spiritual farmer has found a way to grow abundant supplies of rice without the use of harmful chemicals.

  • India Food and Global Trade

    India Food and Global Trade

    Indians have long considered “food security” to be a national priority. Now, dependence on the global economy sends India on an uncertain and, some say, dangerous course.

  • Food for a Billion Indians

    Food for a Billion Indians

    It’s growing increasingly difficult for food production to keep pace with population growth. In India, failure could spell disaster.

  • Flowers for Export

    Flowers for Export

    Outside Bogotá, some of Latin America’s best soils have been covered with a sea of greenhouses for growing flowers for export.