Our Best Food System Solutions Stories of 2021

From the climate crisis to systemic racism to the never-ending pandemic, challenges abound, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But across the food system, people and communities are thinking creatively and acting boldly to address the big issues—and seeing promising results.

In a media landscape dominated by bad news, Civil Eats remains committed to reporting on the people and projects that are making a positive difference. In August, we published a collection of solutions-focused stories, and we end the year by rounding out that list by highlighting our solutions coverage since. We hope these inspiring individuals and efforts will leave you feeling hopeful as we head into 2022.

loading shiitake logs onto the apollonia. (Photo by Doug Bierend)

Building an Alternative Supply Chain for Shiitake Mushroom Growers
The Logs to NYC project connects city-based mushroom growers with rural landowners and surplus lumber hoping to blaze a trail to lower-carbon living.

Hybrid Rye is Helping Farmers Fight ‘Superweeds’ Without Herbicide
Herbicide-resistant giant ragweed is destroying crops across the Corn Belt. These farms have found a sustainable solution.

A member of the Hoopa Valley High School Water Protectors Club speaks at a 2020 rally to shut down the Delta Tunnels Project. (Photo courtesy of Wingspan Media)

A New Indigenous-led Student Movement Is Protecting Sacred Waters
In the midst of the state’s water crisis, Native-led school curricula in Northern California are empowering youth to fight for the future of their waterways.

Can Accounting for the True Cost of Food Change the Global Food System?
A new book argues that it’s not only possible to measure the human, social, and environmental impacts of food from production to consumption—it’s essential.

Black women farmer-politicians. From left: Kim Jackson of Georgia, Sonya Harper of Illinois, and Juanita Brent of Ohio.

Meet the Black Women Driving New Ag Policy
A new generation of elected officials is working to benefit disadvantaged farmers and African Americans in their states by serving on agriculture committees, introducing legislation to promote equity in agriculture, and fighting food insecurity.

The Next Chapter for Farm to School: Milling Whole Grains in the Cafeteria
A new pilot project in California is purchasing a mill for a school cafeteria, marking the next step in years-long effort to bring local, whole grains to schools around the country.

The Nation’s First Regenerative Dairy Works with Nature to Heal the Soil—at Scale
At a time when large dairy brands are experimenting with scaling up regenerative practices, Alexandre Family Farm is working to set the standard for the future of the industry.

Emily Selinger, right, and Amanda Moeser, both raise oysters in the tidal flats of Casco Bay. While they each have their own companies, they often collaborate and support one another.

Can Aquaculture Help Women Secure a New Foothold in the Seafood Industry?
Women have long played a crucial role in global fisheries, yet their work remains largely invisible. As a growing number start aquaculture businesses, it’s unclear if the industry will provide a path toward more independence and recognition.

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