Weekend reads: Inmates benefit from gardens, coffee prices on the rise, and more
The basil has a perfume of its color and the season: a warm, summer's green, herbaceous and sweet. Its leaves cup outward like turtle shells, long and slinky, germinating from plastic black trays inside a steamy greenhouse.
The greenhouse sits 30 yards from Division 9, a maximum-security ward housing murderers and rapists. Separated from them by fences topped with razor coil, the basil lies within a lush patch of life, in an unexpected garden on the grounds of the Cook County Jail. For inmates who are allowed to work here, the ones convicted of far less dangerous crimes, the garden is an oasis within barbed-wired misery. Except oases are often mirages, a figment of the desperate. This is real. The sun peeks through, and life sprouts.
You may soon find yourself paying more for your morning coffee - if you aren't already.A trifecta of bad news has sent coffee futures soaring 44% since June, and companies such as Dunkin' Donuts, Green Mountain and Maxwell House are passing on those costs.
Some of the most sought-after internships this summer weren’t on Capitol Hill or in the Vogue fashion closet. They were on farms. If you hadn’t applied by the end of the spring, you could forget about it. Ag-department graduates, career-changers and cooks looking to deepen their knowledge of ingredients are among those who have been turning to farmers to show them how to plow their trade. For months they live in group housing — even tents — working long hours for little or no pay beyond all-you-can-eat produce. It’s a cross between Michael Pollan summer school and Barbara Kingsolver boot camp.
A Hardin County farmer said that some ears among his feed corn rows popped on the stalk in a phenomenon that agricultural experts believe is associated with irregular rainfall and high heat.