Suzi Parker

Suzi Parker is a freelance journalist whose work focuses on politics and Southern culture. She lives in Little Rock, Ark., and is the author of Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt.

Some farmers’ markets aren’t as local as you think

Kathy Webb stands in front of a group of 20 people in the dining room of her Asian restaurant, talking about locally grown food. As she describes how nearly all the ingredients in the five-course dinner she’s about to serve — from the tomatoes and herbs in the salad to the berries in the dessert — are from Arkansas, she educates her listeners while whetting their appetites. Webb, a newly elected state legislator and owner of Lilly’s Dim Sum, Then Some in Little Rock, says a connection to food is something Americans have lacked over the last several decades. “When …

How poultry producers are ravaging the rural South

A person driving through the South might notice the chicken houses dotting the hills and flatlands. He might marvel at the larger ones, as long as a football field. He might react to their gagging stench for a moment, and then forget as he travels on. But those who live near the structures — stuffed with as many as 25,000 chickens each — combat the odor and health hazards daily. Not yer pappy’s chicken coop. Photo: USDA. “There’s a horrible odor, a stench, and I have flies and rodents digging in, trying to get into my house,” says Bernadine Edwards, …

Task force takes aim at NEPA, freaks out environmentalists

Rep. Richard Pombo meets the press in April. Photo: U.S. House of Representatives. You have to want to get to Nacogdoches, a Texas town that’s not on the way to anywhere. This eastern outpost, nearly 150 miles from Houston, is the oldest town in the state, with enough lore to fill volumes. It’s the site where, in the 1700s, the legendary Father Margil struck a rock twice during a drought and water flowed. In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated overhead. And in late July, the town served as the perfect out-of-the-way location to host a congressional hearing on the …

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