Health+Harvest

NPR Illinois Campus & Community Council 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, GenHKids, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If you'd like to support this initiative, please contact Nick Reynolds at 217-206-9847.

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SPRINGFIELD – Memorial’s Be Aware Women’s Fair is accepting nominations for breast cancer survivors whose cancer journeys have been an inspiration to others.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Whenever Esteban Castillo visited his grandparents in Colima, Mexico, he'd sit by his grandfather's taco stand and watch him cook. He'd also see his grandmother carry her homemade cheeses on her back and go door to door, selling them in different neighborhoods. To this day, his grandparents still make a living off of food.

"They basically transform their living room into a restaurant during the weekends to make ends meet," says Castillo.

The Food and Drug Administration has delayed the deadline for food companies to adopt a new Nutrition Facts label on food and beverage packages.

A design for the new label was unveiled by Michelle Obama in 2014 at a White House event held on the anniversary of her campaign to fight obesity.

The updated label highlights the calories in packaged food and drinks using a big font with bold lettering. It also labels added sugars.

Can eating insects help people survive a famine?

Are there new ways to help farmers water their crops when drought strikes?

Isn't the basic hunger problem that there's just not enough food to go around?

Those are some of the tough questions that you submitted in April for our monthly #CuriousGoat series.

How do you start a dairy industry overnight in a wealthy desert nation with its transport links closed? You buy 4,000 cows from Australia and the U.S. and put them on airplanes.

That is what Qatari businessman Moutaz Al Khayyat told Bloomberg he is doing. The airlift will require as many as 60 flights on Qatar Airways, but Al Khayyat said, "This is the time to work for Qatar."

The Stoneview Nature Center is a lovely new five-acre public park in Los Angeles with seven different types of orange trees, avocados, figs, grapes, lemons, blackberries, lemonade berries, and blueberries galore. An open path snakes around the manicured space. There's a birdhouse for quails to lay their eggs, a hotel for native bees to drop in, a hand-drawn maze on asphalt for the kids and picnic tables for the families.

Dog owners often say the best thing about dogs is their unconditional love.

But new research suggests there's another benefit, too. Dog owners walk more.

In a study published Monday in the journal BMC Public Health, dog owners on average walked 22 minutes more per day compared to people who didn't own a dog.

And they weren't just dawdling.

The social media world is heavily populated by trolls — you know, those people who write nasty, mean comments online. Sometimes it can be tempting to respond back, but what if there's a better alternative? Like sending them a cake.... with their words written on it.

New York City baker Kat Thek does just that. She's the founder of Troll Cakes, a bakery and detective agency.

During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which we're in the middle of right now, it's traditional to break the fast in mosques and homes. In fact, you're supposed to be in congregation with others.

"It's almost like the Christmas for Muslims," jokes Omar Salha. "When you have on Christmas day everyone gathered with family members—it just doesn't seem right that during Ramadan you're breaking fast alone."

John T. Edge is a man who knows how spin a good yarn. Listening to him talk can feel like falling under the spell of your favorite college professor. He's wickedly smart, funny, warm and welcoming.

And for years, the tale he's been telling is all about Southern food: about its central role in Southern identity, and about what it owes to the African-American and immigrant cooks who have historically been left out of the standard narratives the South tells about itself.

Eight miles down a dirt road through the swamps of southwest Alabama, Lane Zirlott has 1.8 million oysters in the water at his family's farm in Sandy Bay.

"What we've been doing is trying to redefine what people are thinking of a Southern gulf oyster," Zirlott says.

The Murder Point oyster farm covers about two and half acres in the bay. The name changed from "Myrtle Point" in 1929, after a deadly dispute over oyster territory.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

While many Americans are familiar with dishes like egg foo young, there are Chinese-American and Chinese immigrant communities throughout the country where foods like ma po tofu and congee are also on menus.

And Panda Express, America's biggest Chinese fast-food chain, hopes to make those more traditional dishes mainstream. "Panda Express ... has the opportunity to be the ambassador of Chinese food to many people," says Andrea Cherng, the company's chief marketing officer.

During Ramadan, refraining from even a bite to eat is a challenge, but what about a month of daylight hours without anything to drink?

"After a long day — especially in summer — of fasting, one becomes more thirsty than hungry," says food blogger Amira Ibrahim. "So when it is time to break your fasting day, everybody rushes to the drinks."

It's tricky to nail down exactly what makes someone feel like a "racial impostor." For one Code Switch follower, it's the feeling she gets from whipping out "broken but strangely colloquial Arabic" in front of other Middle Easterners.

For another — a white-passing, Native American woman — it's being treated like "just another tourist" when she shows up at powwows. And one woman described watching her white, black and Korean-American toddler bump along to the new Kendrick and wondering, "Is this allowed?"

As a group of visiting scientists prepared to board a plane in Hawaii that would take them back home to China, U.S. customs agents found rice seeds in their luggage. Those seeds are likely to land at least one scientist in federal prison.

Neil Shook was relaxing at home in Woodworth, N.D., on a Saturday afternoon just over a week ago.

"My wife was outside and she yelled at me to come outside and take a look at this," he recalls.

A massive brown cloud covered the horizon to the west. It was a dust storm — although Shook, who's a scientist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, doesn't like to call it dust. "I like to refer to it as soil, because that's basically what it is," he says. "We saw this huge soil cloud moving from west to east across the landscape."

Ever heard of the freshman 15? Nowadays, some people who are unhappy with the current political environment are complaining of the "Trump 10."

We first heard this term from actress Jane Krakowski, who recently told late night TV host Stephen Colbert, "Now that I've put on my Trump 10, I've got to work out a little." When Colbert said he hadn't heard of the term, she replied, "You know — like the freshman 15," referring to the weight gain typical during the first year of college.

If you've ever bought coffee labeled "Uganda" and wondered what life is like in that faraway place where the beans were grown, now's your chance to see how climate change has affected the lives of Ugandan coffee farmers — through their own eyes.

Photography documents life — and food, whether in the fore or background, seems to always be in the picture. The two intersect in a new book, Feast for the Eyes, written by photography curator Susan Bright and published by Aperture.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

There is a joke among cider makers when they open a bottle and its contents taste disappointingly sour or flawed:

"We say, 'Oh yeah, this cider went bad, so we just put it into green bottles and called it Spanish,' " says cider maker Nathaniel West, owner of Reverend Nat's Hard Cider in Portland, Ore.

As farmer Jon McConaughy wades through his flock of 400 sheep, lambs bleat, seemingly saying "maaaaa" as they look for their mothers in the huge pasture.

"Between seven and 10 lambs a week is what we use," McConaughy says, looking across the field. "That's what goes through the slaughterhouse."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Now to Kenya and a growing food crisis. Ugali is a doughy, sticky food made from corn that's a staple there. Over the past few months, the price of corn, though, has soared, making ugali unaffordable. NPR's Eyder Peralta reports on what's behind the shortage.

One taco is good, but two tacos are better. By that reasoning, hundreds of tacos should be incredible.

And Mike Sutter, food critic for the San Antonio Express-News, is now about halfway through his "365 Days of Tacos" quest to eat at a different taco joint every day for a year. So far, he's consumed about 700 tacos.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

When President Trump announced this week that he was taking the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, there were swift and vocal reactions from many industries --- but most of the organizations that represent American agriculture were silent.

Chris Clayton, though, a veteran reporter at one of the leading farm publications in the country, took to Twitter:

Florence has taken aim at picnicking tourists. The problem: visitors who choose to dine on the steps of the Italian city's historic churches.

Earlier this week, just before lunchtime, the city began hosing down the front steps of a basilica where sightseers like to sit and eat. Mayor Dario Nardella's goal is to make the steps wet enough that tourists won't gather there.

Do Carrots Really Help Your Vision?

Jun 2, 2017

Many lifelong carrot eaters feel a little betrayed.

"There is no way [carrots] affect eyesight," says Silvio Fontecchio, a project manager at a print shop in Tallahassee, Fla., whose parents told him when he was young that munching the orange veggie would help his eyes. "As a kid, my go-to snack was carrots and ranch [dressing], and I have really bad nearsighted vision."

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