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The Trouble with Iowa

“I’m driving through these beautiful fields. I want to grab that corn like you’ve never seen. So rich, so beautiful,” Donald Trump told a standing-room crowd last July, at a Make America Great Again “family picnic” in Oskaloosa, Iowa. An obvious applause line, perhaps, but Trump delivered it with the …

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Slow food nation

Carlos Monteiro got his start in medicine in the 1970s as a pediatrician working in poor villages and slums in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. His patients were hungry, and it was written on their bodies: Many were anemic, underweight, and stunted. Today, Monteiro is a professor of nutrition at …

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Napa’s water war with big wine

In the winter of 2015, a Hong Kong real estate conglomerate purchased the Calistoga Hills Resort, at the northern end of the Napa Valley, for nearly $80 million. Today, mature oaks and conifers cover the 88-acre property, which flanks the eastern slope of the Mayacamas Mountains. More on this story …

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The Gulf War

The waiter at New Orleans’ Red Fish Grill, a wiry and spring-loaded man, recommended the whole red snapper. “Head, tail, eyes, looking at you up off the plate,” he said. I opted instead for the snapper fillet, grilled over a hickory fire and served atop a bed of roasted vegetables. …

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Drought, fire, and now healing in a California farm community

Many Californians may barely remember the Butte Fire, which hit the Gold Country foothills last September. But people in Calaveras County do. “I watched this all happen from my deck,” says farmer and beekeeper Sean Kriletich, who put out spot fires on his land and prepared for evacuation. “I didn’t sleep …

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Dirt First

Rick Haney, gangly and garrulous, paces in front of a congregation of government conservationists, working the room for laughs before he gets to the hard data. The U.S. Department of Agriculture soil scientist points to an aerial photograph of research plots outside his facility in Temple, Texas. “Our drones took this …

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This is how the government decides what you eat

Portraits of lawmakers in dark suits peered down from the walls as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of Heath and Human Services, sat inside a congressional hearing room last October. From behind microphones, they braced for an onslaught of questions. Cameras clicked, papers shuffled, heavy …

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Can livestock restore drought-stricken grasslands?

Sianyanga is a small community far from any paved road in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe’s poorest province. The village, part of the Hwange Communal Lands, comprises about 150 households — one household being six or seven family members living in a group of small, thatched huts. From the 1990s until about 2010, along …

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Preserving Gold Rush-era Heritage Trees With Amigo Bob Cantisano

Who doesn’t like a treasure hunt? The search for something mysterious and valuable, with just a few clues for guidance, is pretty irresistible. In California’s Nevada County, an unusual explorer with an unusual name — Amigo Bob Cantisano — hunts for remnants of the Gold Rush, just not the kind …

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