Cherries grow on trees, strawberries on vines, but how do cashews grow? Thanks to our current food system, we can get crops from almost anywhere in the world—vanilla from Madagascar, bananas from Ecuador. Of course, the downside of receiving produce from far-off lands is that we can't exactly run into the fields to see how they're grown. For many, the manner in which fruits and veggies emerge from the earth can be something of a mystery. Here are some of the more unexpected ways plants propagate before they make their way into our meals:
At 582,578 square miles, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is not just the United States' largest marine protected area—it's currently the largest marine protected area in the world. The monument, a stepladder-shaped oceanic expanse dotted with atolls, shoals, and islands northeast of Hawaii's island of Kauai, was created by President Bush in 2006 and expanded by President Obama in 2016. The goal of Papahānaumokuākea, and of marine protected areas more broadly, is to spare it from the spoilage that frequently happens in unprotected areas: overfishing, pollution, and degradation.
In August of 2005, as the dog days of summer lollygagged towards fall, waters agitated by the winds and currents of Hurricane Katrina rose up and over the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A flurry of criticisms followed—complaints of mediocre warnings, a lackluster disaster response on the part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), poorly made levees, and grief at the sheer loss of human life. Amidst the enormity of the disaster, it was easy to overlook the efforts of a small department, the National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC), in helping to put the region back together again. Its name, a tangle of government speak, seems designed to make the NHSRC forgettable.