Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest covers these agriculture-related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.Most Harvest Public Media stories begin with radio- regular reports are aired on member stations in the Midwest. But Harvest also explores issues through online analyses, television documentaries and features, podcasts, photography, video, blogs and social networking. They are committed to the highest journalistic standards. Click here to read their ethics standards.Harvest Public Media was launched in 2010 with the support of a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Today, the collaboration is supported by CPB, the partner stations, and contributions from underwriters and individuals.Tri States Public Radio is an associate partner of Harvest Public Media. You can play an important role in helping Harvest Public Media and Tri States Public Radio improve our coverage of food, field and fuel issues by joining the Harvest Network.

USDA to Use Rural Development Money for Local Food Connections

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Recognizing that the demand for local food is growing to between $5 and 7 billion a year, the USDA announced a new effort aimed at connecting farmers with urban shoppers.

"We know that there are a number of opportunities that exist in urban centers to expand local food production and promotion," Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said.

That's why certain urban projects will now be eligible for Business and Industry Guaranteed Loans. The loan program has long been a part of the farm bill as a Rural Development program, but it has been previously limited to rural recipients.

Now, Vilsack says a food hub that connects city institutions to local food prodcuers is one example of an urban project that could be eligible.

"If you’re going to be using USDA resources," Vilsack said, "[the project] has to have a connection, a financial and legitimate connection, to rural areas and that is why there is the condition that there has to be some linkage to rural productions and producers."

The market for local food has skyrocketed over the last two decades and USDA priorities reflect that. The $78 million in this year’s farm bill is the biggest ever federal boost to local food programs.

Vilsack said funding local food projects promotes three of his department's goals: expanding market opportunties for small and mid-sized farms, increasing access to nutritious food that has a smaller carbon footprint and creating jobs in rural communities to help grow their economies.

Amy Mayer is a reporter based in Ames. She covers agriculture and is part of the Harvest Public Media collaboration. Amy worked as an independent producer for many years and also previously had stints as weekend news host and reporter at WFCR in Amherst, Massachusetts and as a reporter and host/producer of a weekly call-in health show at KUAC in Fairbanks, Alaska. Amy’s work has earned awards from SPJ, the Alaska Press Club and the Massachusetts/Rhode Island AP. Her stories have aired on NPR news programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition and on Only A Game, Marketplace and Living on Earth. She produced the 2011 documentary Peace Corps Voices, which aired in over 160 communities across the country and has written for The New York Times, Boston Globe, Real Simple and other print outlets. Amy served on the board of directors of the Association of Independents in Radio from 2008-2015.