The Salt

The SaltThe Salt

What's On Your Plate

Divers around the open-ocean aquaculture cage at the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas. These cages are not currently used in the Gulf of Mexico, but represent one type of farming technology that could work in the region. NOAA/with permission from Kelly Martin hide caption

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A farmer deposits harvested corn outside a grain elevator in Virginia, Ill., in 2015. Corn and soy have fallen, and farmers are receiving payments under a new program. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that total government aid to farmers will swell to $23.9 billion in 2017. Seth Perlman/AP hide caption

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Migrant workers harvest strawberries at a farm near Oxnard, Calif. Ventura County is one of two counties where labor organizers hope to get a Bill of Rights passed to protect farm workers from abuse and wage theft. Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Harvesting oranges near Arcadia, Fla. The sacks that workers carry weigh about 90 pounds when they are full of fruit. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Currently, only about 10 percent of egg-laying chickens in the U.S. live in cage-free houses like the one seen in this photo. Courtesy of Big Dutchman, Inc. hide caption

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One of the banana plants in the collection at the USDA's Tropical Agriculture Research Station in Puerto Rico. It's just one of many banana collections around the world that might just hold the key to stopping a fungus's deadly reach. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Chipotle Mexican Grill founder and CEO Steve Ells, shown here in an interview with The Associated Press last month, says the company intends to become a leader in food safety. Stephen Brashear/AP hide caption

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Cattle carcasses hang on hooks inside a cooler at the JBS beef processing plant in Greeley, Colo. JBS employs some 3,000 workers at this plant. The company is looking into ways to automate the art of butchery. Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images hide caption

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A man scans a voucher code in with his smartphone. Some food companies use labels like this to provide details about ingredients and manufacturing processes to consumers. iStockphoto hide caption

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Paul Lightfoot, CEO of BrightFarms, in his company's greenhouse in Lower Makefield Township, Pa. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Las Cañadas is an ecological cooperative in Veracruz, Mexico that's working to sequester carbon and mitigate climate change while producing food, materials, chemicals and energy. Courtesy of Ricardo Romero/Chelsea Green Publishing hide caption

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Cascara is made by brewing dried coffee cherries, which typically would have otherwise ended up as compost. "We have been throwing away this perfectly good coffee fruit for a long time, and there's no real reason for it, because it tastes delicious," says Peter Giuliano, of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Murray Carpenter for NPR hide caption

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Cocoa pods in Ivory Coast, one of the world's top producers of cocoa. Climate models suggest that West Africa, where much of the world's cocoa is grown, will get drier, which could affect supply. Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Oranges ripen in a grove in Plant City, Fla. Citrus greening, a disease spread by a tiny insect that ruins oranges and eventually kills the trees, has put the future of the state's $10 billion citrus industry in doubt. Chris O'Meara/AP hide caption

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Nancy Bruns, CEO of J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, gathers finished salt from an evaporation table in Malden, W.Va. Noah Adams for NPR hide caption

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Soybeans are sprayed in Iowa in 2013. Enlist Duo is a mixture of two chemicals that farmers have used separately for many years: glyphosate (also known as Roundup) and 2,4-D. The new formulation is intended to work hand-in-hand with a new generation of corn and soybean seeds that are genetically engineered to tolerate sprays of both herbicides. Charlie Neibergall/AP hide caption

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Farmers harvest cranberries born from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's breeding program. The program has created a couple commercial varieties since it's inception. Jeff Miller/University of Wisconsin-Madison hide caption

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The average wholesale price of turkeys was $1.35 per pound in mid-November. But the retail price of frozen tom turkeys has fallen to an average of 87 cents a pound. Why? Because grocers know cheap turkeys draw customers into the store. Larry Crowe/AP hide caption

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Last year, Munirah Small quit her job as a customer service representative to start a cake business. She had lots of repeat customers, but after accounting for her expenses, she found she didn't have much money left over — certainly not enough to pay herself a regular salary. So she applied to Break Fast and Launch to figure out what she could be doing better. Brenda Salinas for NPR hide caption

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An illustration of rinderpest in the Netherlands in the 18th century. Europeans once feared the cattle virus as much as they did the Black Death. Jacobus Eussen/Wikimedia Commons hide caption

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