20 Solutions-Focused Food and Agriculture Stories for your Summer Inspiration

The U.S. is in the midst of a rough summer, following a rough year-and-a-half: The Delta variant and low vaccination rates are causing COVID-19 infection levels to soar, and drought, wildfire, and extreme temperatures are devastating farmers and the communities they feed. Given how much we’re facing and how much more lies ahead, it’s easy to feel hopeless about the challenges our country and its food system are up against.

Yet in the face of these enormous problems, many individuals are working toward solutions—and realizing success. As Civil Eats takes its annual summer hiatus this week, we leave you with a collection of recent stories that shine a light on efforts to fight climate change, build food sovereignty and resilience, support food workers and farmworkers, and create a more inclusive farming culture.

Is Fonio the Ancient Grain of the Future?
Yolélé hopes this nutritious, climate crisis-ready crop will compete with quinoa globally, while supporting smallholder farms in West Africa.

On November 8, 2020, Gakwi:yo:h Farms relocated their wild bison herd to Ohi:yo' at the Sunfish flats in Allegany, a sprawling 300-acre plot of land where the bison may roam freely. (Photo courtesy of Seneca Media & Communications Center)

The Seneca Nation Is Building Food Sovereignty, One Bison at a Time
The pandemic has spurred a reconnection to farming and Indigenous culture and foodways for the Seneca Nation.

Vermont Plans to Send Cash to Immigrant Farmworkers Left Out of Stimulus
Migrant farmworkers are crucial to the state’s dairy industry, and a new initiative offers relief funds to make up for a lack of federal support.

Valarie Mckenzie brews an espresso at Wildflyer Coffee. (Photo courtesy of Wildflyer Coffee)

The Coffee Shop Giving Homeless Youth a Chance at Success
Wildflyer Coffee in Minneapolis provides skills training and support—as well as an income—for young people experiencing homelessness.

Can Bridging the Gap Between Landowners and Farming Tenants Help Improve Soil Health?
Forty percent of U.S. farmland is owned by non-operating landowners. When they support their renters’ use of conservation practices, it can make an important difference.

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College Students Struggle to Enroll in SNAP—but Peer Support Programs Help
As more students face food insecurity during the pandemic, student navigators at the City University of New York help clear SNAP sign-up hurdles.

the little africa market parade put on by the aeds

How a Food Business Incubator Is Building Black Economic Strength in Minnesota
With new funding, African Economic Development Solutions hopes to foster culture and community with a Pan-African immigrant cooperative market.

Queer, BIPOC Farmers are Working for a More Inclusive and Just Farming Culture
Young, queer farmers of color say they encounter high rates of racism, sexism, and other forms of identity-based oppression in farm country. Here’s how they’re working to change that.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty Movements Are Taking Back Ancestral Land
From fishing rights off Nova Scotia, to grazing in Oklahoma and salmon habitats on the Klamath River, tribal groups are reclaiming their land and foodways.

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