Crop Stories is a journal of farms, food, and compelling narratives

    Table of Contents, Sweet Potatoes, Fall 2017

    Table of Contents, Sweet Potatoes, Fall 2017

    Announcing our table of contents, minus recipes, for our upcoming issue on Sweet Potatoes. 

    These writers and stories are directly funded by our IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign. To help bring this work to press, consider a contribution today!

    Crop Stories | Sweet Potatoes | Fall 2017


    Loyd Lewis has farmed the patch of land in Fallston, NC, for most of his life. Now nearing the end of his working days, Lewis reflects on a 57-year career bringing sweet potatoes and other produce to market, and wonders what legacy he'll leave behind in his corner of rural North Carolina. Crop Stories deputy editor Keia Mastrianni (Shelby, NC) catches up with Lewis in our Crop Story profile. 

    Sweet potatoes, like many of the South's ubiquitous crops, traveled to the region from South America. How did this nightshade finds its way to the South, how did the sweet potato become synonymous with Southern farming, and what does the future hold? Rashaun Ellis (Athens, Ga) answers all these questions and more in our Roots column. 

    Sweet potatoes may all look the same piled up in bins at the farmers market, but their varieties are numerous. In our Seed Skills column, Crop Stories dirt editor Caitlyn Hardy (Maxeys, Ga) discusses types of sweet potatoes, how to plant them, keep them alive, and harvest a healthy batch. 

    Jessica Dean (Knoxville, TN)  began farming as a way to heal herself and restore urban land with food production. Through her work as a community college professor, she met Raven Powell and Sandra Wairimu who joined her newly minted agricultural apprenticeship program. In this issue’s Crop Talk, Dean, Powell and Wairimu explore the unique needs and resistances they encountered while working the land and how the harvest met them, and their communities, where they were. 


    The Agrarian Guide to Alabama shows good food travelers where to shop, eat, brainstorm, and learn when in the Yellowhammer state. With Alice Evans (Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network) as our expert, Crop Stories' travel guide helps readers find stops of agrarian interest during their next route through Alabama.  

    Handed down from one generation to the next, plots of land known as heirs’ property, are supposed to bring wealth to descendants. But what happens when those acres go unplanted by inheritors? Rosalind Bentley (Atlanta, Ga) reports on the status of heirs property in the South, and asks, when is it time to let go?

    Vardaman, Mississippi calls itself the Sweet Potato Capital of the World. We sent Boyce Upholt (Cleveland, MS) to inquire about what life is like in a self-vaunted center of agriculture, for farm owners and field workers. 

    In West Virginia, coal was king. But as our energy future leans renewable, how does a mining-dependent economy adapt? Some believe small farming is already supplanting fossil fuels. Joe Thomas (Atlanta, Ga) reports an Appalachian story overshadowed by politics in the national media.

    Life on the Line: The Poultry. Janis Marie Young, the mother of Crop Stories food editor Nicole Taylor (Brooklyn, NY), worked for 30 years in a Georgia poultry processing plant. Taylor interviewed her mother about one of the toughest jobs in agribusiness, how the plant changed during her tenure, and how the work still affects her today. 

    Life on the Line: La Pollera. Carrie Freshour (Ithaca, NY) spent nearly six months working in a poultry processing plant as part of her graduate research in sociology. In that time, she befriended Latinx workers, learning how women build community during difficult tasks and breaking down academic and cultural stereotypes about who really works in La Pollera. 

    Editors on the Road! Part 1

    Editors on the Road! Part 1

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