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.

Before Marathoners Had Energy Bars ...

Oct 30, 2013

In its October/November issue, Running Times has a piece by distance running great Bill Rodgers. Among the most compelling of his reflections are the details on his diet while training for the 1976 New York City Marathon:

How Much Water Actually Goes Into Making A Bottle Of Water?

Oct 30, 2013

Environmental activists have long claimed that bottled water is wasteful. Usually, they point to the roughly 50 billion (mostly plastic) bottles we throw away every year.

Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines have incorporated sesame seeds into both savory and sweet preparations for centuries. Yet for many Americans, sesame seeds seem to have little more use than as something to be sprinkled atop a roll or a loaf of bread.

Community supported agriculture shares are moving out of the crisper and into the pantry.

That's the hope, anyway, of a growing number of farmers and small processors who are marketing local goods under the CSA model.

In traditional a CSA, a farmer sells shares of their fruit and vegetable crop ahead of the growing season to generate cash flow for the year. The farmer then provides boxes of seasonal produce on a regular basis to shareholders during the harvest.

We all know we're supposed to exercise daily, but precious few of us do. And it only seems to get harder with age.

There's a reason to try harder, though. Tacking more years of good health on to your life may be as simple as mowing the lawn more often and engaging in other everyday physical activities.

Have you ever wished that your iPhone could bring you the smell of coffee, curry or steak?

No? Well, there's a gadget for that.

In an alley in Northeast Washington, D.C., hundreds of pounds of produce are piled haphazardly on pallets. Mexican Fruits, a discount grocer, can't sell the fruit and vegetables inside these boxes because the food has gone soft or is lightly bruised. Some will be donated, but most boxes are destined for a large, green Dumpster nearby.

ADM

Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. said today that its third-quarter earnings more than doubled partly on increased profit margins on ethanol. But the Decatur-based company says its results fell short of last year when adjusted to exclude an inventory credit.  

Revenue fell 2 percent but beat analysts' forecasts.  
Net income was $476 million, or 72 cents per share, up from $182 million, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier.  

Complaints from nearby residents about "burning eyes, irritated throats and headaches" have led the city of Irwindale, Calif., to ask a judge to order the company that makes Sriracha hot sauce to suspend production.

When you sit down at Chef José Andrés' tapas restaurant, Jaleo, in Washington, D.C., and ask to see the beverage options, as I did recently, you're in for a surprise. Instead of a traditional leather-bound menu, I was handed an iPad.

Sandwich Monday: Lard Bread

Oct 28, 2013

There's a thing you can find, mostly in Brooklyn, called lard bread. It's bread, with cured pork baked right into it, and it's not the slightest bit embarrassed about its name. We had ours imported from Brooklyn's Mazzola Bakery.

Eva: Now I know when people call me "lard bread" they mean it as a compliment.

Miles: Hard outside with a ham surprise inside. This is the closest we'll ever come to a meat piñata.

Oh, what a job. You've got $3 billion to address society's most intractable problems. So what do you do?

If you're philanthropist Howard G. Buffett, son of famed investor Warren Buffett, you set a deadline: 40 years.

And you move at "fast-forward" speed (that's the way Warren describes his son's pace) to steer the most vulnerable people on Earth towards a future where food production is efficient, plentiful and affordable.

It's really only a sliver of time when humans build the bulk of their skeleton. At age 9, the bones start a big growth spurt. And by the time puberty ends, around 14 or 15 years old, the adult-sized skeleton is all but done, about 90 percent complete.

But doctors say a lot of children aren't getting what they need to do that. Calcium and vitamin D are essential, sure, but so is lots of time jumping and running.

Fears of possible listeria contamination are forcing grocery stores in 25 states to pull refrigerated foods from shelves. Taylor Farms of Jessup, Md., is recalling products that include salad kits with packets of dressing due to concerns of a possible contamination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

NPR's Jim Hawk filed this report for our Newscast unit:

A Sweet And Sour History Of Our Obsession With Candy

Oct 27, 2013

Trick-or-treaters demand it. Dentists despise it. Pop musicians have sung odes to it.

Love it or hate it, candy is a cultural fixation — and it isn't going anywhere.

Andy Ricker is passionate about changing how Americans think about Thai food. So passionate that he was willing to go deep into debt for it.

Ricker spent the better part of a decade eating in roadside restaurants, noodle stands and home kitchens across Thailand before opening his first restaurant, Pok Pok, in Portland, Ore. Eight years later, Ricker has seven restaurants in Portland and New York City, and he's just written his first cookbook.

Fish sauce — that funky, flavor-enhancing fermented condiment — is part of what gives Southeast Asian cooking its distinctive taste. But it turns out, this cornerstone of Eastern cooking actually has a long history on another continent: Europe. And it goes all the way back to the Roman Empire.

There's a growing body of evidence linking elevated blood sugar to memory problems.

For instance, earlier this year, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that higher glucose may be a risk factor for dementia, even among people without type 2 diabetes.

So the question is, at what point does the risk of cognitive decline set in?

On the Mexican Dia de los Muertos holiday, the living remember the dead. Some believe they are communing with the deceased. While it may sound morbid, Pati Jinich, a Mexican-born blogger, food show personality and author of Pati's Mexican Table, says it's a joyous occasion.

"People get ready to welcome people — those who have deceased and that presumably have license to visit just once a year," Jinich told All Things Considered host Melissa Block.

San Francisco's Mission District is a cultural crossroads for food, where Mexican bodegas and burrito shops meet gourmet bakeries and cutting-edge California cuisine. It's also home to a kitchen where some of the most promising food startups in the region are getting a boost.

When 52-year-old Alicia Villanueva migrated to San Francisco from Mexico in 2001, she began preparing tamales at home to make a living. She found clientele for her authentic, quality food easily, but says that she struggled to grow the business.

How To 'Eat Good' In The 'Hood'

Oct 25, 2013

Eating healthy can be a challenge, especially if you're on a tight budget. Host Michel Martin asks health guru and rapper Stic, of the rap duo Dead Prez, for his suggestions on eating well while on a so-called "hood" budget.

You'd have to be living under a rock to miss the signs of our cultural obsession with bacon.

Americans seem to have a love affair with snacking.

As a society, we eat twice as many snacks as we did a generation ago. Women, on average, nosh on upwards of 400 snack calories per day, according to federal survey data. And men consume almost 600 calories a day in between meals.

So, if nibbling is our new pastime, researchers have a suggestion for one satiating snack that seems to help control our appetites: almonds.

You've probably heard of Black Friday - but what about "Green Saturday"? No? Well that's a day the Illinois Stewardship Alliance and genHkids, non-profits aimed at promoting agriculture, nutrition and the buy-local movement, have recently come up with. And this Saturday marks the kick-off - with the group urging Illinois residents to support the state's farmers by purchasing their produce.

A new study has found that people who snack on almonds really do eat less throughout the day. It's the combination of fiber, protein and the fact that we don't absorb all the calories we eat since we don't chew them very well. Another reason? They don't have carbs, which stimulate our appetites.

UPDATE (Nov. 8)

The following is from the Central Illinois Foodbank:

The Springfield Rotary Club is working toward a goal of 2,000 pounds of citrus to be donated to Central Illinois Foodbank. The club currently is about half way to their goal and hopes the community will help them double their current total.

Five years ago, a landmark report excoriated the animal agriculture industry's practices and laid out a road map for how it could do better. But in the years since, the problems are just as bad — and maybe even worse.

That's the conclusion of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. This week, the center scolded the industry again with a review of how it has fared in the years since the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production released its original report.

Nearly a third of all Mexicans are obese, putting Mexico at the top of the list of overweight nations — ahead of the United States.

In the battle against the bulge, lawmakers are taking aim at consumer's pocketbooks. They're proposing a series of new taxes on high calorie food and sodas. Health advocates say the higher prices will get Mexicans to change bad habits, but the beverage industry and small businesses are fighting back.

So, Food Day is almost upon us (it's Oct 24). And maybe it's time to test your mettle.

The folks behind this celebration have devised a Food Literacy Quiz to gauge your knowledge of all things food — from farm to table.

Think you know tomatoes? Well, by evaluating a series of photos shown in the first question of the quiz, you may learn something about how its seeds are dispersed.

Still looking for a Halloween costume that makes a statement? Look no further than your grocery aisle, if you dare.

Ever since Carmen Miranda danced her way onto the silver screen with a fantastical fruit-laden hat in the 1940s, food as costume has provoked reactions of both delight and horror.

Costumes made of real food have sparked discussions about race, hunger, vegetarianism, commercialism, sexuality, morality and the ever-popular female body image for decades. Here are a few of the more memorable examples.

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