How Crop Circles Saved the Great Plains

In the 1940s, Farmer Frank Zybach Invented Center Pivot Irrigation and Brought the Dust Bowl Back to Life

If you live in the Great Plains, sooner or later you’ll get a question about those “crop circles” that can be observed from airplane windows during flights over the region. The answer is contained in the question: Put simply, they are circles of cropland.

The circular pattern, however, is different from the regular patchwork many people imagine traditional farm fields to be. The shape is the result of the center pivot irrigation, a development of the post-World War II era that profoundly changed the course of American food production. In …

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We Grow the Country’s Carrots, but Ours Come in Bags

Kern County's Food Policy Council Tries to Confront the Unique Paradoxes of Its Food System

Kern County is home to two seemingly opposite realities.

First, it’s famous for producing food. In 2014, it grew $7.5 billion worth of grapes, almonds, milk, citrus, and beef. The …

Why France Continues to Bitterly Defend Fatty Goose Livers

Despite Controversy, Foie Gras Production Remains a Crucial Entity to the Country's Identity

Vacations to the southwestern countryside have long been a staple of French life. People escape urban centers to visit ancient churches, beautiful gardens, and magnificent castles. They enjoy outdoor activities …

In South L.A., a Growing Interest in Urban Gardening

A Place Called Home Offers Local Youth a Chance to Farm in the Middle of South Central Avenue

A Place Called Home is one of the treasures of the South Central Avenue corridor. It’s been so successful at serving young people ages 8 to 21 (they’re called members)—providing …

The Japanese-American Flower Growers Who Made Phoenix Bloom

Post-WWII Gardens Like My Family’s Found Beauty in Stony Ground

When my high school orchestra teacher found out my family owned a Japanese flower garden in Phoenix, Arizona, he made a confession: He had once snuck into those fields. He …