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food

COVID-19 has caused disruptions in how families get their food. That’s one reason why more people are growing their own. 

The concept of a victory garden dates to the Second World War. Food was in high demand, and canned food was rationed for the war effort. Sarah Vogel is an educator at the University of Illinois Extension. She said the federal government encouraged citizens to grow their own food and provided lots of information on how to do so.

After the day’s meals are done on a recent Tuesday, Gilbert Community Schools director of food service Deb Purcell shuffles through a stack of papers. Gilbert, a town north of Ames in central Iowa, serves about 1400-1600 meals a day. 

“This is what I do, planning for a week,” Purcell says pointing to columns on a page. “And there's actually seven pages minimum that go with each day.”

She’s counting cups of vegetables and documenting other details about every meal she’s served to comply with stringent federal rules. Her job could soon get easier.

Between the growing warehouse district and the south side of Peoria, Illinois, sits 1312 SW Adams Street. The city-owned building looks like a great space for a haunted house: cracked paint, holes, shattered glass and pieces of drywall littering the staircases.

But officials and economic development groups have another idea. They put up booths and led tours of the building in late May, showing how it could be used to bring health services and healthy food to an area that’s been losing businesses like grocery stores and for years.

Organizers also envision it as a place for local farmers to team up and sell their food to places they might not otherwise provide a big enough bounty for.

Cow guts are quite the factory. Grass goes in, microbes help break it down and make hydrogen, then other microbes start converting it to another gas. In the end, you get methane, manure and meat.

One of those things is not like the other. Methane emissions are considered the second-worst greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, according to Stanford University professor Rob Jackson.

Updated Jan. 22 with Farm Service Agency reopening — The long tentacles of the partial federal government shutdown are reaching especially deep into food and agriculture. Here’s an update on some of the impacts now four weeks into the longest shutdown in history.

Communities across Illinois lacking access to fresh food will soon be tracked. This initiative, which goes into effect mid-2018, will attempt to solve more than one issue in these affected areas. 
        

Shoppers, check your receipts when you buy Thanksgiving dinner ingredients. It’s likely the total cost will be the lower that what you paid in 2013.

The World Health Organization released recommendations this week to curb the use of antibiotics in livestock, saying it could help reduce the risk of drug-resistant infections in humans.

But the U.S. Department of Agriculture says some of the guidelines from the United Nations’ public health agency would place “unnecessary and unrealistic constraints” on farmers and veterinarians. It's a disagreement that could have an impact on farm exports.

There’s a genetic technology that scientists are eager to apply to food, touting its possibilities for things like mushrooms that don’t brown and pigs that are resistant to deadly diseases.

And food industry groups, still reeling from widespread protests against genetically engineered corn and soybeans (aka GMOs) that have made it difficult to get genetically engineered food to grocery store shelves, are looking to influence public opinion.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

Imagine going to the grocery store for dinner, not to pick up a rotisserie chicken to take home but to actually eat at the store. As online grocery shopping grows, many supermarkets are adding sit-down restaurants --  and the trend is changing how food retail and food service work together.

Grocery Store Restaurants Shake Up Food Service Landscape

Aug 21, 2017

Imagine going to the grocery store for dinner, not to pick up a rotisserie chicken to take home, but to actually eat at the store. As online grocery shopping grows, many supermarkets are adding sit-down restaurants --  and the trend is changing how food retail and food service work together.

Kyle Riggs, who manages Market Grille, the restaurant at a Hy-Vee grocery store in Columbia, Missouri, says most people don’t expect to find this level of food service next to the produce aisle.

“And then when they walk in here, they’re just amazed at the full wine wall with the ladder that slides,” he says. “We have 20 beers on tap and a lot of high-end alcohol, whiskeys and things like that, and great food.”

Rich Egger

The city of Macomb recently acquired the rundown building at the corner of Jackson and McArthur Streets. The city is just starting the process of turning around the building but a local group is already considering whether it's a suitable site for its store.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Farmers in the U.S. like to point out that their products feed people all over the world. And while this is a diverse country, the people working on farms and elsewhere in agriculture often don't reflect the nation's demographics. Changing that is becoming a priority, in hopes new people will bring fresh ideas to meet some of our food system's greatest challenges.

Jesse Howe for Harvest Public Media

Drones are not just a hot gift item or a weapon for use by the military. They're also helping farmers change the landscape of agriculture. 

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

The hardest part of starting a new food business should be in perfecting the secret recipe. For many entrepreneurial cooks though, the tough times come when searching for a space to legally make and sell their food.

The Macomb Food Cooperative began as an idea among a small group of people in 2009.  A couple years later it incorporated, and in April, 2014 it started operating the Macomb Online Market.  Now the co-op is opening a brick and mortar store that will feature mostly local products.

Fuel: It's What's for Dinner

Dec 3, 2015
Stephanie Joyce for Harvest Public Media

There are few places where the connection between energy and food is more obvious than at the Bright Agrotech warehouse.

Tim Sackton, Flickr

Despite the bird flu epidemic that devastated Midwest turkey farmers this spring, the price of a turkey this Thanksgiving is a little cheaper than last year. This years turkeys are ringing up one cent less per pound than in 2014, according to the USDA’s most recent numbers.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Walk down a grocery store aisle today and you're likely to find lots of food -- and lots of marketing claims. Whether a product's label says it's low in fat, produced without hormones, or a good source of protein is largely governed by consumer demand and corporate profit.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

The packaged foods found in supermarkets, convenience stores and vending machines are full of ingredients you often cannot pronounce.  They've been carefully developed and tested in a lab and likely have been shipped long distances. They can hold up to weeks or even months on the shelf.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Walking through the warehouse of food processor Heartland Gourmet in Lincoln, Neb., shows how complicated the food safety system can be. Pallets are stacked with sacks of potato flour and the smell of fresh baked apple-cinnamon muffins is in the air.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

You’ve probably seen, but may not have noticed, labels on the meat at your grocery store that say something like “Born, Raised, & Harvest in the U.S.A.” or “Born and Raised in Canada, Slaughtered in the U.S.”

These country of origin labels, as they are known, are part of an ongoing international trade dispute that has swept up Midwest ranchers. And they may not be long for store shelves.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Bacon and pork chops could become cheaper this year thanks, in part, to fewer pigs getting sick with the virus that devastated hog farms in 2014.

Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

When it comes to organic certification, there are strict guidelines for food producers to follow.

Illinois Key State in Food Distribution

Jan 4, 2015

More food passes through Illinois annually than any other state.

Wikipedia

2014 was the year even the lunch ladies got political.

The online market opened by the Macomb Food Co-op in April continues to grow in popularity among shoppers and producers.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

An effort to label genetically modified foods in Colorado has failed to garner enough support, following a national trend of statewide GMO labeling ballot measures facing uphill battles.

taryn/Flickr

Americans had to dig deep into their wallets to cover costs associated with foodborne illnesses, according to new estimates from the U.S. Department Agriculture.

With Curbside Composting, Food Waste Not a Total Loss

Sep 27, 2014
Cassandra Profita for Harvest Public Media

Wasting around 40 percent of all the food produced in the U.S. certainly has its drawbacks: It's not feeding people in need, it's expensive and it does a lot of environmental damage.

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