Many fisheries around the globe are struggling, but some fishers and entrepreneurs, like Norpac Fisheries Export, a fish processing company where this fish was photographed, are developing ways to make supply chains more transparent. Photo © Robert Clark

Outtakes: Photographing the People Who Make Our Food

Go behind the lens with these photographers traveling the world to photograph the people making our food more sustainable.

Spring 2018

Food, like water, is life. But as the world’s population grows, the amount of food we produce must also grow. The world’s food supply may have to grow by 50 percent by 2050 simply to keep up. Ramping up food production without further harming the environment—depleting fisheries and soil and polluting rivers with fertilizer—is no easy task.

Photographers Robert Clark, Melissa Ballarin and Daniel López Pérez, captured images of farmers, fishers, and thinkers around the globe who are trying to do just that for Nature Conservancy magazine’s spring food-themed issue. These workers are experimenting with more transparent supply chains, cover crops, targeted fertilizer use, and all sorts of new technology.

See photo outtakes from the issue below and read more about the work they and others are doing in the latest issue.

Now, as the major food writer MFK Fisher once wrote, “First we eat. Then we do everything else.”

If you let him, Tom Perry, the founder and owner of White Stone Oysters, will wax on about the specific salinity of his oysters. They’re grown near the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, where they filter the bay’s water as they accrue flavor. Salt Line Restaurant in Washington, D.C., is one of many on the Atlantic coast selling his oysters, which photographer Robert Clark enjoyed tasting. Photo © Robert Clark
Clark grew up on a farm in Kansas; he was not phased to see this hour-old dairy calf at Kinnard Dairy Farms in Casco, Wisconsin, near Green Bay. The family-run farm, where more than 8,000 cows reside, has joined a growing network of Wisconsin dairy farms attempting to address fertilizer runoff. Lee Kinnard, one of the farm’s owners, has introduced winter cover crops and no-tillage farming practices to hold soil in place, keep it from running into nearby streams, and reduce the amount of fertilizer polluting groundwater. Photo © Robert Clark
“There’s not a whiff of fish there,” says Clark. “It’s spotless.” Clark photographed Tom Kraft, owner of fish processor Norpac Fisheries Export, at a facility in Honolulu. The company is using technology to support a more transparent seafood supply chain. Just out of frame, two workers stand ready to help if the fish becomes too heavy. Photo © Robert Clark
In La Igualdad, Guatemala, two workers harvest ripe coffee seeds at a coffee farm owned by René Gaspar. After a fungus killed many coffee crops in the region in 2012, Gaspar worked with The Nature Conservancy to plant fungus-resistant coffee plants as well as guama trees, whose shade helps regulate humidity and whose roots help prevent erosion on the steep slopes where the coffee plants thrive. Photo © Melissa Ballarin and Daniel López Pérez
Incredibly, a single teaspoon of healthy soil can hold more microbes than the population of the world. Clark captured the frizzy hair-like quality of the tendrils of sorghum sudangrass, a cover crop, at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at the Santa Cruz campus of the University of California. He was there to photograph Deborah Bossio, a TNC scientist who promotes cover crops and other practices that return organic material to the earth, as a way to improve soil health. Photo © Robert Clark
Clark arrived in at this soybean farm field near Santarém, Brazil, after harvest. Recent Brazilian laws prevent further deforestation and the removal of trees like this one, viewed from a drone. These days, a partnership between TNC and local farmers is working to reduce deforestation in the region by helping farmers ensure they’re in compliance with the laws and by developing a market for sustainably grown soy. Photo © Robert Clark


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