When Fritz Haber first showed the world how to fix nitrogen from thin air, the results were earth-shattering. Synthetic fertilizer fueled the green revolution and set off a population bomb. Now, 100 years later, we need another soil fertility breakthrough—one without the ecological casualties.
The Oiliest Catch
Menhaden are modest little fish so rich in oil that they’re sometimes called the soybean of the sea. But scooping them up to fuel the omega-3 fish oil craze could pull the rug out from under the entire Atlantic coastal food chain.
An Inside Job
John Edel, a Chicago entrepreneur, has transformed an abandoned meat-packing facility into the nation’s first vertical farm. His goal is to bring large-scale, net-zero-waste food production right into the middle of the city.
A handful of giant corporations are laying claim to the germ plasm of the world’s major food crops. And when yield is the grail of profit, biodiversity isn’t a priority.
Black Is the New Green
In a deft act of ecological jujitsu, Johannes Lehmann wants to borrow an 8,000-year-old technology to interrupt the natural carbon cycle and return some of the infamous black stuff to the soil.
Can Cities Feed Us?
For every acre of land cultivated in a high-rise urban farm, 10 to 20 acres of current cropland could go wild.
Genetically Modified Conservation
It sounds like an oxymoron, but genetic engineering is already ushering in a new brand of agriculture that slashes pesticide use and thrives in a warmer, wetter world.
Stung from Behind
Distracted by a mysterious rash of dying bees, researchers may be overlooking a more insidious pollinator crisis.
The Mushroom Messiah
Faced with bioterrorism, fuel shortages, and a warming planet, where should we turn for solutions: a) religion, b) technology, or c) fungus?
The Sterile Banana
As uniformity replaces diversity, some of your favorite fruits could be on the cusp of extinction.