local foods

Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
9:35 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Farm Bill Programs Target Aid for Smaller Farms

The new farm bill includes more money to promote local food and farmers markets.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media file photo

The Farm Bill was passed in February. But now, piece by piece, it’s taking effect. We’re beginning to see how parts of the farm bill are doing more to help farmers go small.

The Farm Bill contains about half a trillion dollars in spending over five years. The vast majority of that pays for huge programs like food stamps and subsidized crop insurance. But this time around, Congress carved out a little more room for local and organic foods, and it’s starting to show.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:26 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Climate, Space Create Challenges for Local Food

Josh Kilbane runs Yampa Valley Farms outside Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Local food is no longer just a novelty. Farmers markets are growing nationwide and farms that sell directly to consumers brought in $1.3 billion in 2012, up eight percent from just five years earlier. Despite the demand, making local food work in some places is decidedly more difficult than others. Steamboat Springs, Colo., is one of those places.

Problem number one is infrastructure.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:05 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Bug-Infused Food Companies Fight 'Yuck Factor'

Robert Nathan Allen of Austin, Texas-based Little Herds is a high-profile advocate for eating insects in the United States.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Insects can be a great source of protein, and in many parts of the world, people gobble them up.

But here in the United States, a certain “ick factor” has kept consumers from eating crickets, locusts and mealworms. To combat the ickiness and convert skeptical consumers, bug-food advocates are trying a specific marketing tactic: be clever and cute.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Chef Camp Teaches Basics of Food Production

Farmer Marty Travis shows off one of his fields to the chef campers on June 8, 2014.
Sean Powers for Harvest Public Media

With farm to table restaurants springing up left and right, cooks are having to go beyond the grocery store. That’s why about a dozen chefs from Chicago and central Illinois recently gathered for a two-day crash course on where their food comes from – the farm.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Robust System Can Grow Local Market

In the kitchen at Decorah High School, Chad Elliott ladels out tomato soup. The school system sources many ingredients locally.
Amy Mayer/IPR

The smell of baking dinner rolls fills the kitchen at Decorah High School in northeast Iowa. As two kitchen workers mix a fresh broccoli salad, another, Chad Elliott, ladles tomato soup from a large metal pot on the stove into white plastic buckets for delivery to the town’s elementary schools.

Elliott says most of the food served in the district is made from scratch and many ingredients come from local farms and dairies.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Farmers Try to Tap Bigger Local Markets

Samara Davis shops at the small Harvest Learning Center market in the basement of her Kansas City, Mo., church. It’s part of an effort for local farmers to expand their customer base.
Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

Farm stands and farmers markets remain really important for many local farmers, but U.S. consumers barely buy any food directly from farms. That’s why local farmers are trying to crack in to the big institutional markets such as grocery stores, work cafeterias, schools and hospitals.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Public, Private Partners Key to Local Food Success

Ashley Turk is a member of Food Corps, a service program that supports local food systems. In northeast Iowa, Turk and other organizers maintain a robust network that connects growers with clients.
Credit Amy Mayer/IPR

As Food Corps service member Ashley Turk navigates her way through a brand-new greenhouse in the courtyard at Waukon High School in the northeast corner of Iowa, she points to a robust supply of red and green lettuce leaves growing neatly in rows.

“It’s huge,” she says. “We cut it off and it just keeps growing.”

The greenhouse lettuce is among the offerings in the school’s salad bar. And students will soon be growing carrots, tomatoes and other vegetables, Turks says.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
10:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

What You Should Know about Our Food System

Despite certainty on the farm bill finally coming down from Washington, Midwest farmers still face plenty of unknowns.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media file photo

Food doesn’t just come from a grocery store. Millions of farmers spend their lives producing the crops and raising the livestock that we eat and use.

So it makes sense: If you’re interested in what’s on your plate, you’re interested in what’s going on in the field.

With that in mind, here are four things you should know about today’s food system:

The new farm bill became law in February

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Vertical Farming: Towering Vision, Uncertain Future

Large banks of fluorescent lamps provide the spectrum of light that keeps the floating beds of plants alive year-round in The Plant Chicago, a vertical farming facility.
Peter Gray/Harvest Public Meeting

Farmers are making inroads supplying local food to hungry city foodies, but many producers are trying to grow more food inurban 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.

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Talk of Iowa
11:43 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Iowa's Local Food Economy

Produce at the Des Moines Farmers Market
Jason Mrachina

According to regional food coordinators, there is no local food network like the one in Iowa. The connection between farmers and distributors is very strong, and the network continues to grow larger every year. Even so, about 80% of the food Iowans consume is from out of state.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
12:57 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Schools buying local produce, but room to expand

The USDA recently surveyed school districts nationwide to measure how much of their food dollars go toward buying local or regional products.
USDA

Iowa’s school districts spent six percent of their food budgets buying from local farms in the 2011-2012 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Census. That means efforts to fill cafeteria trays with local foods have plenty of room to grow.

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Talk of Iowa
2:43 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Shopping Local for the Holidays

Plaque from Iowa City's "White Rabbit"
What a Load of Craft / Facebook

In these days of one-click shopping, the idea of local shopping may, as nice as it sounds, be a little overwhelming. On today's Talk of Iowa, we’ll talk about buying locally grown foods for the holiday table and buying the gifts on your list from Iowa merchants. We’ll also look at the economics of buying close to home.

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