Marsha Mercer

Marsha Mercer

Cash for carrots? More school districts looking for fresh, local produce for lunch programs

By: - November 6, 2022

What’s for lunch? For millions of school students, the answer may be fresh lettuce and tomatoes, apples and carrots grown by nearby farmers, or, in a few states, fresh lamb or haddock, raised or caught locally. Local foods, once rare on school lunch trays, are gradually becoming more available in school cafeterias as states promote […]

Advocates seek to make prison work voluntary

By: - September 11, 2022

Prisoners making license plates is a popular stereotype, but most of the nation’s 800,000 incarcerated workers hold jobs more similar to those on the outside: They cook and serve food, mop floors, mow lawns and cut hair. Unlike other workers, though, the incarcerated have little say, if any, in what jobs they do. They face […]

State parks trying to attract more diverse visitors

By: - June 13, 2022

As Americans plan their summer vacations, states around the country are struggling with a persistent challenge: How to attract more Black residents and other visitors of color to their parks. The racial gap in park visitation is longstanding: Officials estimate that about 3 in 4 visitors to America’s state and national parks are White, well […]

Gun storage safe is a rare moment of agreement in gun control debate

By: - February 27, 2022

An 11-year-old boy in eastern Tennessee grabbed his father’s shotgun and fired once, killing an 8-year-old neighbor girl—because she wouldn’t let him see her puppy. The boy was convicted of murder, but the adult gun owner was not charged with a crime. In 2016, a few months after the shooting, Tennessee state Sen. Sara Kyle […]