Field Notes

By KBIA

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Description

Field Notes digs even deeper into our coverage of food production through additional interviews, on-site reporting and audience feedback.

Episode Date
Vertical farming: towering vision, uncertain future
246
Farmers are making inroads supplying local food to hungry city foodies, but many producers are trying to grow more food in urban centers. City real estate is at a premium, so some producers are finding more space by using what’s called “vertical farming,” and going up rather than spreading out. Growers across the country are heading indoors, using greenhouses and hydroponics – growing plants in a water and nutrient solution instead of soil and using lamps to replace sunlight. Vertical farming takes that to a new level. But what exactly is a “vertical farm”? Do an internet search and you’ll get some very different pictures of what that term means. Some conceptualized vertical farms are like space-age skyscrapers, while others are simple, boxy structures with racks of artificially lit plants stacked to the ceiling. The man widely credited with bring the term into the mainstream says it’s simple: any high-tech greenhouse that goes up rather than out. “Instead of spreading out,” said
Apr 10, 2014
Field Notes: A plan to prevent acts of food terrorism
303
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. The Food and Drug Administration is establishing regulations aimed at protecting the U.S. food supply from terrorist acts. In the last episode of Field Notes , we explored some of the reasons why lawmakers view food terrorism as such a significant threat. In this week's episode, we look at the agency’s proposed remedy, which would require the nation’s largest food manufacturing plants to tighten up security. And as I learned during the reporting for this story, the dairy industry is considered the most vulnerable to attack.
Mar 21, 2014
Field Notes: Putting a scare into the food system
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. In the wake of 9/11, the U.S. government spent years and billions of dollars fortifying various industries against possible terrorist attacks. Now, the Food and Drug Administration is tackling the issue. The agency is currently crafting rules with the intent to strengthen vulnerable sections of the food system. But with few documented incidents of malicious contamination, Harvest Public Media reporter Luke Runyon considers whether the potential for food terrorism is fact or fiction.
Mar 14, 2014
Field Notes: More younger farmers and Low corn prices
298
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. Farmers received some gloomy news from the US Department of Agriculture earlier this month. As Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon reports in this week's Field Notes, the USDA is predicting that lower corn prices are here to stay. The Department of Agriculture is also beginning to release figures from its 2012 Census of Agriculture. The latest census shows there is a slight uptick in the number of young farmers, but not enough to halt the average age of the American farmer from climbing. Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports that this has got residents in many rural communities worried.
Feb 28, 2014
Field Notes: Hunting for mushrooms and myth at True/False
298
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. For more than a decade, fans of documentary film have flocked to Columbia, Mo., for the annual True/False Film Fest . The screenings start on Thursday. Many of this year’s films are set in big cities -- like Cairo, Rome and New York. But several works also focus on rural life. " Rich Hill " follows three teenagers growing up in a small Missouri community south of Kansas City. Jessica Oreck’s " The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga " uses animation and stunning scenes of everyday village life in Eastern Europe to tell the Slavic fairytale of Baba Yaga . The film is shot in Super 16. I spoke to Oreck from her home in New York a week before True/False. It was her first interview about "The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga ." There are many glimpses of farming in your documentary -- from sheep herding, to cutting grass with scythes, to mushroom
Feb 21, 2014
Field Notes: Booming dairy industry leaves small farms behind
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. The U.S. dairy industry is changing. Dairy farmers are exporting more milk; they’re getting bigger and more efficient. But as I found out reporting this story , that has left some dairy families behind. In traditional milk producing states like Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois and Nebraska, meeting the growing global demand is tough going for smaller dairy farmers.
Feb 14, 2014
Field Notes: Farm bill awaits a presidential signature
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. President Obama is scheduled to sign the long-overdue Agriculture Act of 2014, the new farm bill, into law on Friday afternoon. Many people will be sighing with relief. That includes farmers, of course, as well as advocates for food stamps. As Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer explains, these two groups have been wedded together politically to generate urban and rural support for the farm bill. But it’s been a rocky road.
Feb 07, 2014
Field Notes: Senate to consider the Farm Bill as wheat prices dip
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. As you may have already heard on KBIA, the U.S. House has passed the Agriculture Act of 2014, known to most of us as a new farm bill. The Senate is expected to take it up soon. Add President Obama’s signature shortly thereafter, and a new set of farm and nutrition policies for the next five years will finally be law. As Amy Mayer reports though, amid the relief that a new farm bill is finally coming, there’s still some uncertainty and even some disappointment. Also in this week's Field Notes, we take a look at wheat prices. A new US Department of Agriculture report is predicting that prices for this grain are on the decline, in part due to a global wheat bumper crop this year. Luke Runyon has that story.
Jan 31, 2014
Field Notes: What does the future of ethanol hold?
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. Since 2007, the US government has required fuel companies to add an increasing amount of ethanol to the gasoline supply each year. But now, the EPA is proposing a change in direction and suggesting a 3 billion gallon cut instead. Regulators want to match a drop in gasoline demand. But as Harvest Public Media's Grant Gerlock reports in this week's Field Notes, others say the EPA has to stick to the script to meet the government’s ultimate goal of the law.
Jan 24, 2014
Field Notes: What exactly does 'sustainability' mean?
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. Retailers and restaurants like Whole Foods, Chipotle, Safeway, McDonald's and Wal-Mart are all providing information to consumers about how sustainably some of their foods were produced. But as I found doing this story, it's hard to know just what "sustainability" means and how to judge whether food was produced in a "sustainable" way.
Jan 17, 2014
Field Notes: Snowmass wheat
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. Consumers increasingly want the texture and taste of white bread but the nutritional benefits of whole grains. I n this week's episode of Field Notes, Harvest Public Media's Luke Runyon reports on a new variety of wheat called Snowmass that could help meet that demand .
Jan 10, 2014
Field Notes: Top ag and food stories of 2013
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. The drought was easily the biggest story on the farm beat in 2012 . But this past year, many of the stories filed by Harvest Public Media reporters focused on food politics and the divide between large industry groups and proponents of organic, sustainable and local foods. HPM's Peggy Lowe joins me for this week's Field Notes to talk about the past year's top and most popular stories in agriculture and food production, including the Super Bowl's " God Made a Farmer " ad, Chipotle's animated commercial "The Scarecrow ," Wal-Mart's local foods push and Harvest Public Media's documentary on the aging of the American farmer .
Jan 03, 2014
Field Notes: Popcorn and Ag Sec. Vilsack's trip to China
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. Maybe you didn’t notice the last time you bought a popcorn and coke at the movie theater or warmed up a bag of popcorn in the microwave, but the retailers that brought it to you took a big hit from the 2012 drought. The drought caused one of the worst popcorn harvests in recent memory. In this week's episode of Field Notes, Harvest Public Media’s Peter Gray reports that c rops not irrigated were decimated and low supplies have forced local candy shops and movie theaters alike to pay high prices. Also in this week's episode, reporter Grant Gerlock covers Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's recent trip to China.
Dec 27, 2013
Field Notes: Antibiotics in meat and why Congress can't pass a farm bill
298
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. All year long, Washington lawmakers have been saying they want to pass a full five-year farm bill during 2013. Though leaders of the House-Senate conference committee say they’re close, they acknowledged earlier this month that won’t be happening and that they're pushing it off until January. In this week's Field Notes, Harvest Public Media's Amy Mayer reports that the inability to settle on a farm bill illustrates the deep divisions that have become the norm on Capitol Hill. Also in this week's episode of Field Notes, reporter Peter Gray on t he FDA's plans to phase out antibiotics in meat.
Dec 20, 2013
Field Notes: Farms, coming to a suburb near you
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. When you think of moving to a housing development in the suburbs, you might imagine golf courses, swimming pools and rows of identical houses. But that could be changing. There’s a new model springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement. In this week's Field Notes, Harvest Public Media reporter Luke Runyon reports that farms -- complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees -- are serving as the new suburban amenity.
Dec 13, 2013
Field Notes: CAFOs and aid for veterans in the Farm Bill
300
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. Thanks to tight competition, hog farmers all over the country are feeling a push to expand or get out of the business. That means indoor confined animal feeding operations – or CAFOs – are growing even in the most environmentally sensitive areas. In this episode of Field Notes, Clay Mast ers reports for Harvest Public Media on a CAFO fight in Iowa. We also hear from Harvest Public Media reporter Luke Runyon about the Senate's newest iteration of the farm bill, which US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says will include funding for a liaison for veterans affairs within the USDA and low-interest micro-loans for beginning veteran farmers.
Dec 06, 2013
Field Notes: Where does our meat come from?
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. Head to the grocery store to pick up a steak or pork chop and take a look at the packaging. New rules that just went into full effect force meatpackers to detail where the meat was born, raised and slaughtered. The meatpacking industry wants Congress to repeal those rules and there’s talk lawmakers may do so in the next farm bill. But the new labels got me thinking. Where does our meat come from? And how do we know?
Nov 29, 2013
Field Notes: Midwest pumpkins on Thanksgiving plates
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. Everyone knows the Midwest is a strong part of America’s breadbasket. But it’s also cradle to a huge pumpkin crop. That means this Thanksgiving, hungry families all over the country will finish off their holiday meals with a little slice of the Midwest. In this week's Field Notes, we feature a story about the Heartland's pumpkin crop from Harvest Public Media reporter Peter Gray. To hear a conversation about the history of Thanksgiving food traditions and to get recipe ideas, tune into Intersection on Monday.
Nov 22, 2013
Field Notes: Farmer Joel Salatin on the local food movement
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. Joel Salatin has become one of the rock stars of the local food movement. He’s written books, appeared in documentaries and schedules speaking engagements nationwide. Among foodies , he’s a celebrity. The move to source locally has taken hold across the country, but still faces many hurdles. And it’s not for everyone. Harvest Public Media reporter Luke Runyon spoke with Salatin about those challenges from his farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Listen to this week's Field Notes to hear highlights from their conversation.
Nov 15, 2013
Field Notes: Immigrant children share dreams beyond the slaughterhouse
299
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes , in which we talk about important issues related to food production. For our special series “ In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse ,” Reporter Peggy Lowe and I interviewed immigrant children in Noel, Mo., and Garden City, Kan., whose parents work for Tyson Foods poultry and beef plants. It’s often backbreaking and disgusting work. That’s why many of the kids we interviewed don’t want to follow their parents into the plants. They have dreams of a better life. Listen to this week's Field Notes to hear Abdi , Soe Soe , Oscar, Bihn , Mumino , Habibah , Thaw Hay Da and Nestor share their life-long goals.
Nov 08, 2013