Health+Harvest

NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board identified the subject of food and health as important subjects for coverage in 2012. Health+Harvest provides for community engagement on health and food issues along with reporting on farm, field and fuel.  From seed to plate, from farmer's markets to GMOs, central Illinoisans need to know how to stay healthy and what they are eating.  In 2013, NPR Illinois joined a consortium of public media in the Harvest Public Media network.  The network provides broader coverage to Midwest food issues.

By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Health+Harvest fills a critical information void.

Support for Health+Harvest coverage comes from Central Illinois Farm Bureaus and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If you'd like to support this initiative, please contact Nice Bogdanovich at 217-206-9847.

The cows were silent on a recent July morning at Mill-King dairy farm in McGregor, Texas. They stood under shade trees, digesting their breakfast, while cicadas buzzed in the branches overhead.

"It's starting to warm up, so they're starting to get a little bit less ... frolicky," says Craig Miller, watching from the fence line.

His grandfather started this farm. Now he runs it, producing nonhomogenized milk from a mostly grass-fed herd. He says this cow behavior is exactly what he expects as the temperature rises.

It's a haunting image. At dusk, hundreds of Rohingya refugees at a camp in Bangladesh are huddled around a projector, looking at something just outside the frame — a film about health and sanitation.

That photo, taken on an iPhone by documentary photographer Jashim Salam of Bangladesh, is the grand prize-winning photo of the 2018 iPhone Photography Awards.

If you've been to a beach this summer, anywhere from Texas to the Carolinas, you've likely seen it. Masses of brown seaweed, sometimes a few clumps, often big mounds, line the shore. It's sargassum, a floating weed that's clogging bays and piling up on beaches in the Gulf and Caribbean.

On Miami Beach recently, Mike Berrier was enjoying the sun and the water, despite the sargassum weed.

Growing up in Washington, D.C.'s Columbia Heights neighborhood, Rebecca Lemos-Otero says her first experience with nature came in her late teens when her mother started a community garden.

"I was really surprised and quickly fell in love," she recalls. The garden was peaceful, and a "respite" from the neighborhood, which had high crime rates, abandoned lots and buildings, she says.

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Ordering a "grande four-pump, nonfat, no-whip, extra-hot mocha" is a mouthful for any hot beverage nerd, but for deaf people, it can be hard to order just a simple cup of black coffee. Global coffee behemoth Starbucks' "Signing Store Project," launching in Washington, D.C. in October, aims to change that.

Adam Novsam, a deaf utility analyst at Starbucks headquarters in Seattle, knows firsthand how frustrating it can be to accomplish even the most basic transactions in the hearing world.

Scott Pruitt’s resignation from the Environmental Protection Agency this month has many in the renewable fuel industry hoping that federal agencies will get on the same page.

That’s because for the last few years, the EPA and the Department of Energy have been at odds, with taxpayer money creating a new biofuel industry that may not have the room to grow outside the lab.

In this program, we wrap up our journey down the river with a community conversation on solutions. 

What are the international rules for dealing with foreign nationals who show up in a country often without any travel documents and definitely without a visa?

It's a timely question in this era of unprecedented refugee movement, as nations around the world struggle to deal with huge numbers of uninvited migrants who've appeared at their doors.

If you've never considered what happens to the remnants of the fully loaded plate of enchiladas, chips and salsa you grab from the buffet at an all-inclusive Mexico resort, you might be in for a shock.

Mexico's Velas Vallarta produces a veritable ton of food waste each day, but rather than dumping it into the trash, the Puerto Vallarta resort delivers roughly 700 pounds of it, each morning, to a hog farmer down the road to use as feed.

Police have arrested a Brazilian plastic surgeon known as "Dr. Bumbum" after a patient undergoing a procedure on her buttocks suddenly died.

Dr. Bumbum, whose real name is Denis Cesar Barros Furtado, enjoys a huge fan base on social media in Brazil. He was arrested by police in Rio de Janiero on Thursday after five days on the run.

Police say the exact cause of the death of the patient, identified as 46-year-old bank manager Lilian Calixto, has not been determined.

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In hospitals across the country, anesthesiologists and other doctors are facing significant shortages of injectable opioids. Drugs such as morphine, Dilaudid and fentanyl are the mainstays of intravenous pain control and are regularly used in critical care settings like surgery, intensive care units and hospital emergency departments.

In the early 2000s — the beginning of the third decade of the AIDS epidemic--the world came together in an unprecedented global health effort to provide life-saving AIDS drugs to people even in the poorest corners of the world. It has been an overwhelming public health success story. In 2000, fewer than a million of the then 34.3 million people with HIV/AIDS were being treated with AIDS drugs, and almost all of them lived in wealthy countries.

A new report out Thursday by the federal government's auditing arm raises big concerns about how the Department of Veterans Affairs handles employees who report wrongdoing and managers found to have committed misconduct.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office's report says VA whistleblowers are far more likely than their colleagues to face discipline or removal after reporting misconduct.

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One in five working coal miners in central Appalachia who have worked at least 25 years now suffer from the coal miners' disease black lung. That's the finding from the latest study tracking an epidemic of the incurable and fatal sickness.

Each spring, barnacle geese migrate more than 1,800 miles from the Netherlands and northern Germany to their breeding grounds in parts of Russia above the Arctic Circle.

The journey north usually takes about a month, and the geese make multiple stops along the way to eat and fatten up before they lay their eggs, says Bart Nolet of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and the University of Amsterdam.

Tall, dreadlocked Josh Scheper knew he was out of place as he surveyed the scene at a Santa Ana, Calif., parking lot on a Sunday morning this past April. And the 46-year-old loved it.

Hundreds of people waited in line at stalls for vegan food, but few people looked like the Los Angeles resident. Nearly everyone in the crowd was young and Latino, as were the chefs. The food on sale was Mexican — but not hippie-dippy cafe standbys like cauliflower tacos, or tempeh-stuffed burritos. Instead, chefs reimagined meaty classics that were honest-to-goodness bueno.

Did you notice the emoji explosion on social media this week?

Mission Health, the largest hospital system in western North Carolina, provided $100 million in free charity care last year. This year, it has partnered with 17 civic organizations to deliver care for substance abuse by people who are low-income.

Based in bucolic Asheville, the six-hospital system also screens residents for food insecurity; provides free dental care to children in rural areas via the "ToothBus" mobile clinic; helps the homeless find permanent housing and encourages its 12,000 employees to volunteer at schools, churches and nonprofit groups.

When WAMU photographer Tyrone Turner got the opportunity to travel to Antarctica, he thought he would be fascinated with the continent's wildlife.

But instead, it was the ice — in its myriad shapes and textures, "bathed in polar light that morphed from powerfully sharp and blue, to gentle and pink" — that Turner says mesmerized him.

"Antarctica just seemed to me absolutely 'the other world,'" Turner says. "There is no other landscape like it."

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Dr. Elliot Tapper has treated a lot of patients, but this one stood out.

"His whole body was yellow," Tapper remembers. "He could hardly move. It was difficult for him to breathe, and he wasn't eating anything."

The patient was suffering from chronic liver disease. After years of alcohol use, his liver had stopped filtering his blood. Bilirubin, a yellowish waste compound, was building up in his body and changing his skin color.

Disturbing to Tapper, the man was only in his mid-30s – much younger than most liver disease patients.

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Rising drug prices, especially in Medicaid, are straining state budgets. Lawmakers across the country are being forced to make tough choices between giving the poor access to medications and other budget priorities, like education.

Julie Davis directs half a dozen volunteers as they unload a 16-foot truck in front of a Nashville duplex. Bunk beds, dressers, lamps and a diaper-changing station come out of the truck; so do boxes with shampoo, books, toys, a kitchen's worth of supplies.

When people think of particle accelerators, they tend to think of giant structures: tunnels many miles long that electrons and protons race through at tremendous speeds, packing enormous energy.

But scientists in California think small is beautiful. They want to build an accelerator on semiconductor chips. An accelerator built that way won't achieve the energy of its much larger cousins, but it could accelerate material research and revolutionize medical therapy.

First of all, what is an accelerator?

The days of plastic straws are drawing shorter.

Marriott International on Wednesday became the latest big company to announce it will stop using plastic straws, saying it would remove them from its more than 6,500 properties by next July. The giant hotel chain said it will stop offering plastic stirrers, too.

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