Customers order food from a McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines, Ill. The company has promised to start buying "verified sustainable beef" in 2016. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Scott Olson/Getty Images

From the botanical to the economic, spring's iconic vegetable still harbors surprises. Sharon Mollerus/Flickr hide caption

toggle caption Sharon Mollerus/Flickr

The world is increasingly relying on a few dozen megacrops, like wheat and potatoes, for survival. Above, a wheat field in Arkansas. Danny Johnston/AP hide caption

toggle caption Danny Johnston/AP

Empty shelves where eggs should be at a Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C. The store blames increased demand for organic eggs. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Dan Charles/NPR

Benny Bunting, a farm advocate for Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, in front of one of his old chicken houses in Oak City, N.C. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Dan Charles/NPR

Chickens gather around a feeder in a Tyson Foods poultry house in Washington County, Ark. April L. Brown/AP hide caption

toggle caption April L. Brown/AP

Allen Williams grows corn and soybeans for Clarkson Grain, which has been selling GMO-free grain to Japan for years. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Dan Charles/NPR
Adam Cole/NPR

After Grist's six-month-long series on genetically modified foods, some loyal readers accused the site of changing directions in the debate. iStockphoto hide caption

toggle caption iStockphoto

Soon after being sliced, a conventional Granny Smith apple (left) starts to brown, while a newly developed GM Granny Smith stays fresher looking. Courtesy of Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.

A dead carp floats in water near the shore at Big Creek State Park on Sept. 10 in Polk City, Iowa. Like many agricultural states, Iowa is working with the EPA to enforce clean-water regulations amid degradation from manure spills and farm-field runoff. Charlie Neibergall/AP hide caption

toggle caption Charlie Neibergall/AP

Chris and Sara Guerre are among a growing number of farmers who have made the choice to rent land to farm instead of buy because of increasing property values. Zac Visco for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Zac Visco for NPR

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor