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A greenhouse run by youths in foster care takes root amid the opioid crisis

The Stepping Stones Greenhouse will serve youths in foster care in Huntington, West Virginia. Photo: Stephen Ritz

Tucked into the mountains of Appalachia, banked on the Ohio River, Huntington, West Virginia, is a city known for coal, oil, steel, and, most recently, the opioid crisis. The state has the highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in the nation.

In 2017, there were 833 drug overdose deaths involving opioids in the state — double the rate in 2010, and three times higher than the national rate. West Virginia also has the highest rate of babies born drug-dependent. Many children become orphaned, landing in foster care, staring down futures without a way out of the cycle of despair. …

A blight wiped out the American chestnut, but it didn’t kill enthusiasm for the holiday relic

Imported chestnuts at a local Italian market in Pittsburgh. Photo: Francesca Dabecco

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is a classic image associated with the holidays, yet for many, the tradition is no more than a line in the Nat King Cole song. And while they’re still a common street food in, say, Taiwan and parts of Europe, even during the holidays, they’ve become less common in the States.

I’m a native of the Pittsburgh area, and I’ve never roasted chestnuts or even seen a live chestnut tree. …

But it makes delicious toast

Photo by Emily Nunn

I’ve had nary a scrap of bread on my plate for over a week. It weighs upon my body and my soul. My future looks uncertain.

I’m not lost on a remote mountain or enduring the hardships of an early American wagon train. I’m at home in my kitchen in North Carolina, trying to make one goddamn decent loaf of salt-rising bread.

This bread — which makes absolutely delicious buttered toast—happens to have originated during pioneering days in Appalachia. …


Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

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