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Whitney Pipkin

Freelance Journalist

Washington, DC area

Whitney Pipkin

A staff writer for the Chesapeake Bay Journal and a freelance journalist focused on food, farms and the environment. Her freelance work appears nationally in The Washington Post, National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine and Civil Eats and in regional publications like Virginia Living, Northern Virginia and Arlington magazines and the Delmarva Farmer. Pipkin served as guest editor for Edible DC’s summer 2016 issue focused on how to eat with the Chesapeake Bay in mind.

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Food Policy in the Balance

If the past two weeks are any indication, federal policies that have been the status quo for years are now vulnerable to a stroke of the new administration’s pen. With policy changes taking place at breakneck speed in Washington, there is no certainty with respect to laws that have made the U.S. food system safer, healthier, and more sustainable.
Civil Eats Link to Story
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A D.C. Urban Farm Takes On Urban Problems

Little more than grass used to grow on the two-acre plot behind a middle school in the District of Columbia where tomatoes, okra, and infrastructure for food entrepreneurs will begin cropping up this year. In a ward of the city with just two grocery stores serving more than 70,000 residents, fresh produce is hard to come by.
Civil Eats Link to Story
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How to Farm a Forest—and Feed a Neighborhood

A forest garden helps prove the theory that fertile, well-maintained understories can produce as many calories per acre as a field of wheat. The dollop of acorn gel with fermented sweet potato greens looked like sustenance from an episode of Survivor when a volunteer first offered it to me, plated on a single shiso leaf.
National Geographic Link to Story
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Garbage Can Teach Us a Lot About Food Waste

This month, in a first-of-its-kind study, the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) will begin digging through the trash bins of residents and businesses in three American cities. Because it turns out we don't actually know that much about food waste. We know that Americans waste about 36 million tons of food a year, but we don’t know the nitty-gritty details about individual behavior.
Smithsonian Magazine Link to Story
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Why This Food Bank is Turning Away Junk Food

The largest hunger-fighting organization in the nation’s capital has put food-donating retailers on notice: no more candy, sugary sodas, or sheet cakes. As key as donations are to the nonprofit’s bottom line, the Capital Area Food Bank recently told retailers that, beginning this fall, it won’t accept free food that comes at a cost to recipients—many of whom struggle with obesity and diabetes as much as hunger.
Civil Eats Link to Story
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Brass Tacks: How Seed Suppliers Pick Their Fields

Twice a year, a handful of representatives from as many seed companies gather ‘round a toy-sized tractor to draw numbers from it. It’s the NFL draft of the seed-growing world tucked into a fertile corner of Washington state–and it’s pretty mild-mannered, in comparison. The numbers drawn from the tractor determine who gets first pick in the field, represented by a sprawling map on the wall, marked with–you guessed it–brass thumbtacks and red yarn, the same way it has been done for the last 60 years.
National Geographic Link to Story
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Reviving a Centuries-Old Farm to Feed the Hungry

With help from a food bank and an ancient irrigation system, an 18th-century Spanish mission is set to farm its land again. As the National Park Service celebrates its centennial, a new sort of mission is taking root at one of its West Texas parks, where four early 18th-century Spanish missions still dot the landscape along the San Antonio River.
National Geographic Magazine Link to Story
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Want to Launch the Next Food Hub? Here’s What You Need to Know

When local cucumbers crop up in your grocery aisle and local strawberries find their way into your kid’s cafeteria, you might just have a food hub to thank. These out-of-sight aggregators connect local growers to regional markets around the country and their explosive numbers mirror the growth of the larger local food craze.
Civil Eats Link to Story
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This Quilt Is Covered in Dirt—on Purpose

Urbanized populations are losing their connection to life-supporting soil. One farmer is letting the dirt speak for itself. With more than 50 percent of the global population now living in urban areas, our relationship to soil has become more and more shallow. But for soil scientist and farmer Erin Schneider, who spends the bulk of her days elbow-deep in the loamy soils of Wisconsin’s Sauk County, soil carries a message worth delivering.
National Geographic Magazine Link to Story
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How Volunteers Turn Unwanted Produce Into 5,000 Meals

Free meals are not free to produce. Volunteers and hundreds of pounds of produce go into an event that raises awareness about food waste. The mounds of eggplant that hit the chopping room floor on Tuesday didn’t look like much. They, along with the carrots, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and onions that flooded in for processing that morning, were too large, misshapen or otherwise on-their-way-out to display uniformly on a grocery store shelf.
National Geographic Magazine Link to Story
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Fuzzy Pigs, Squash Swords And More of the World's Amazing, Vanishing Heirloom Breeds

Jere Gettle was 8 years old when he noticed the selection in his favorite seed catalogs starting to wane in the late '80s. He’d been gardening since he was about 3 (there are pictures to prove it), and he didn’t want to imagine a world without lemon cucumbers or white tomatoes. “That’s when people started thinking about heirlooms,” says Gettle, who went on to found the Missouri-based Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, which produces a 350-page catalog of hard-to-find seeds each year and runs RareSeeds.com.
Smithsonian Magazine Link to Story
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Millennials Move Home to Farm Their Parents’ Lawns

Almost anything is better than grass. That’s the message the creators of Yardfarmers are hoping to get across in a forthcoming reality TV show centered on six twentysomethings who move back in with their parents and tear up their lawns. “I’m trying to coin a new word here,” says Erik Assadourian.
National Geographic Link to Story

About

Whitney Pipkin

Whitney Pipkin is a staff writer for the Chesapeake Bay Journal and a freelance journalist focused on food, farms and the environment. Her freelance work appears nationally in The Washington Post, National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine and Civil Eats and in regional publications like Virginia Living, Northern Virginia and Arlington magazines and the Delmarva Farmer. Pipkin served as guest editor for Edible DC’s summer 2016 issue focused on how to eat with the Chesapeake Bay in mind.
A wife and mother based in Northern Virginia, she occasionally blogs about food, family, fitness and faith (how's that for alliteration?) at ThinkAboutEat.com.