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.

Afghan Saffron Coming To U.S. Stores

Jul 14, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

At Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., track and cross country coach Aaron Yoder spends a lot of time on the treadmill. That's not so unusual, until you watch what what he's doing — running backward.

The Heart And Soul Of Armenia Lives In A Slab Of Wood

Jul 14, 2018

Wood has a special place in Vahagn Amiryan's heart. It can bring Armenia's ancient past into the modern day.

The act of carving wood into traditional Armenian furniture and decor — and amulets to ward off the "evil eye" — is "a way to connect with the roots," he explains through an interpreter at this summer's Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.

Health officials are investigating an outbreak of intestinal illness that has sickened dozens and is "likely linked" to salads at McDonald's.

McDonald's said Friday it's voluntarily pulling salads from about 3,000 locations in 14 states, primarily in the Midwest, until it can switch to a different lettuce supplier.

A drone flight and a lingering dry spell have exposed a previously unknown monument in Ireland's Boyne Valley, forgotten for thousands of years and long covered by crops — which, struggling to cope with a lengthy drought, finally revealed the ancient footprint.

People who use injection drugs in Vancouver, British Columbia, can do so, if they choose, under the watchful eyes of someone trained to help them if they overdose.

This is the idea behind supervised injection sites, and it's an approach that over a dozen U.S. cities or states are considering to prevent drug overdose deaths and the spread of disease.

The long-running breast milk vs. formula debate made headlines earlier this week.

The New York Times reported that the Trump administration had tried to remove language from a WHO resolution that would, according to reporter Andrew Jacobs, "promote and protect breastfeeding around the world, especially in developing countries" and limit the promotion of infant formula.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling people not to eat Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal, which has been linked to an outbreak of salmonella infections now numbering at least 100 people in 33 states.

"Do not eat this cereal," the agency declared on Twitter.

Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay nearly $4.7 billion in damages to 22 women and their families who say asbestos found in the company's talcum powder contributed to their ovarian cancer.

The St. Louis Circuit Court jury awarded $4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million in compensatory damages to the plaintiffs, who said the company failed to warn about the cancer risks.

Considering that Mexico is one of the spiritual homelands for high-quality chili peppers, it’s unfortunate to see that in Mexican restaurants in the U.S. chiles rellenos, the dish where the pepper is the star, is often underappreciated and poorly executed. Bricia Lopez wants to change that. She and her family own Guelaguetza in Los Angeles, which has been called the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country. Host Francis Lam says they make the greatest chiles rellenos he’s ever had.

Photo: Chili peppers growing on a farm in rural Thailand.

The Republic of Ireland took a crucial step Thursday toward becoming the first country in the world to divest from fossil fuels. Lawmakers in the Dail, the lower house of parliament, advanced a bill requiring the Irish government's more than $10 billion national investment fund to sell off stakes in coal, oil, gas and peat — and to do so "as soon as practicable."

Seven national fast-food chains have agreed, under pressure, to eliminate a practice that limits their workers' ability to take jobs at other restaurants in the same chain, the Washington state attorney general announced Thursday.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Farmers are entering their 5th year of low crop prices and now soybeans have reached a 10-year low, in part due to Chinese tariffs. Economists say this could be a pivotal year for farmers in Illinois and across the country. 

Could the tick that just bit you carry a pathogen that causes Lyme disease or another ailment? If you're worried, you could ship the offending bug to a private testing service to find out. But between August 2016 and January 2017, you could have gotten a free analysis by sending it to Nathan Nieto's lab at Northern Arizona University. You'd get back info on the critter that bit you and, if applicable, a pathology report.

The Dreams Of Today's Teen Girl Activists

Jul 12, 2018

When Shennel E.P. Henries was a little girl growing up in Liberia, maybe 5 years old, she remembers seeing a woman speaking out to get help for people who needed it. For people displaced by the country's civil war. For homeless people. For kids who didn't have enough to eat.

Henries told her mom she wanted to be just like that lady.

And that's a dream that she hasn't given up. This week, Henries, now 19 and a college student in Monrovia, was in Washington, D.C., as part of Girl Up's annual leadership summit.

As a parent, did you ever push your child in ways you now regret – or not push enough? Or when you were a child, did you ever feel pushed too hard or not enough?

Over the last six years, enough opioids were shipped to the state of Missouri to give every resident 260 pills.

The finding comes from a report released Thursday by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. It's the latest in a series of investigations by the senator into the role of drugmakers, distributors and other industry players in fueling the opioid epidemic.

Goat's milk. Sheep's milk. Soy milk. Almond milk. The grocery store shelves these days are filled with alternatives to dairy from cows. But in Europe, interest is growing in milk from a surprising source: horses.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In parts of the country hit hard by addiction, some public health officials are considering running sites where people can use heroin and other illegal drugs under medical supervision. Advocates say these facilities, known as supervised injection sites, save lives that would otherwise be lost to overdoses and provide a bridge to treatment.

With the balance of the Supreme Court in question, some abortion-rights advocates are quietly preparing for a future they hope never to see — one without the protections of Roe v. Wade.

Our good friend and award-winning food writer/editor Doc Willoughby has a thing for great ingredients for grilling and indoor cooking. Over the years, he’s introduced us and his readers to countless amazing spice mixes. When we told him that we were doing a whole show dedicated to chilies and hot peppers, he was excited to tell us about his favorite magical French pepper powder, piment d’Esplette.

The food world's love for fine hot sauces has become an obsession. Not so long ago, eating hot sauce was like taking a dare due to the unbelievable, gimmicky, and often unenjoyable amount of heat and Scoville units – the measurement of how mouth-scorchingly hot a pepper is. Thankfully, hot sauce culture has matured into a true craft. While many sauces are still incredibly hot, they are made with culinary consideration towards balance of pepper flavor and heat mixed with other fruit, vegetable, vinegar and spice flavors.

America’s Test Kitchen finds the good in all green peppers

Jul 12, 2018

Of all the produce found at the farmers market, possibly none has a more divisive "love it or hate it" reaction from cooks as green bell pepper. But why is that? And what other green peppers are fun to work into your ingredient list to create interesting new flavors? To answer these questions Managing Producer Sally Swift talked with Tucker Shaw, the Editor-in-Chief of Cook’s Country.

Writing that "a reasonable jury could conclude" that the herbicide in Monsanto's Roundup can cause a form of cancer, a federal judge says liability lawsuits against the company should proceed, siding with plaintiffs against an effort to quash the litigation. But the judge also said some of the expert opinions presented so far in the case are "shaky."

The lawsuits allege that glyphosate, the herbicide in the widely used Roundup, can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma — and that Monsanto didn't warn consumers or regulators about that alleged risk.

Scientists on the hunt for anti-aging drugs say they've made an advance with tantalizing potential: Two experimental drugs appear to safely boost the immune systems of elderly humans.

The researchers stress that more research is needed to confirm the findings and show the drugs are safe. And at least one researcher says the findings are based on a relatively small number of people and used methods that could produce misleading results.

Still, many researchers say the findings are encouraging.

The population of Madagascar has more than doubled over the past generation, from 11.8 million in 1990 to 25 million today. And with more mouths to feed, residents are cutting down rainforests so there will be more land for agriculture.

That's a threat to the rainforest ecosystem. Madagascar rainforests are home to rare and endangered species like the black-and-white indri, the largest known lemur, topping out at about 20 pounds.

Many people who attempt suicide end up in an emergency room for immediate treatment. But few of those suicide survivors get the follow-up care they need at a time when they are especially likely to attempt suicide again.

Now, a study shows that a simple intervention conducted by staff in emergency departments can reduce the risk of future attempts. The intervention involves creating a safety plan for each patient and following up with phone calls after discharge.

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