“Wicked problems” like COVID-19 and climate change have no ending point. Not simply because we do not (yet) have a technical solution, but because our social institutions, principally our economic and political institutions, have not the flexibility required to respond robustly. However, we have ways forward, through embracing what I call “wicked opportunities.” As we continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic and the food and farm system vulnerabilities it has exposed, from food insecurity to worker exploitation to brittle supply chains, I’d like to suggest one critical wicked opportunity: the farmers market. Read more >
March 20, 2020 3:58 PM EDT
Major grocery chains are seeing sharp increases in sales this week as households stock up and prepare to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Photos of empty shelves in stores across the country have even prompted warnings against hoarding and reminders to shop responsibly.
But beyond the walls of the nation’s big box stores, other vital facets of the food system are faring far worse. Among them are the local and regional markets that allow farmers to sell directly to consumers or to restaurants, schools, and other institutions. Read more >
August 3, 2019 9:30 AM EDT
Sonny Perdue’s latest regulatory attack on SNAP is full of dishonesty, denialism, and downright cruelty. If enacted, it would take food off the plates of $3.1 million low-income people, there’s something else. Secretary Perdue’s proposed SNAP cuts would hurt the very people he calls his “customers”: farmers and rural communities. Read more >
October 1, 2018 2:32 PM EDT
When you think of Texas, a thriving local food scene probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind—but a visit to the SFC Farmers’ Market in downtown Austin might change that. The market draws large crowds every Saturday, and it plays a vitally important role in this city: linking small and midsize farmers across central Texas with customers—including those who shop using benefits from federal nutrition assistance programs—who are hungry for fresh produce and a sense of community. But far from Austin, the federal law that gives markets like this one a leg up are in limbo. Read more >
August 8, 2018 4:41 PM EDT
This National Farmers Market Week, we have some things to celebrate. There’s peak summer produce, of course…I mean, who doesn’t like a perfectly ripe tomato? And now, we may be a little bit closer to a day when that lovely red orb is accessible to anyone who wants one on a hot day in August. But first, let’s talk about a crisis averted.