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.

What counts as dietary fiber? That's up for debate.

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing 26 ingredients that food manufacturers use to bulk up the fiber content of processed foods to determine if there's a health benefit.

If you're a nutrition-label reader, the list includes some familiar-ish sounding ingredients — such as inulin, which is often sourced from chicory root.

The Coliseo is the biggest concert hall in San Juan, Puerto Rico. But since Hurricane Maria devastated the island a month ago, it's become the center of a massive effort to feed tens of thousands left hungry by the storm — an effort led by celebrity chef José Andrés.

"We're about to reach the million and a half [meals] served — a vast majority of them hot meals," says Andrés, who is known for his upscale restaurants in Washington, D.C., and for canceling his plans to open one in Donald Trump's D.C. hotel.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

At some point or another, we've all cringed at the videos: lame cows struggling to stand; egg-laying hens squeezed into small, stacked cages; hogs confined to gestation crates, unable to walk or turn.

Excerpt from Oysters: A Love Story

Oct 20, 2017

Excerpt from Tejal Rao's article, "Oysters: A Love Story," originally printed in the Eat column of The New York Times Magazine. Read the full article here.

The Key 3: Gail Simmons

Oct 20, 2017

For more than 10 years, Gail Simmons has decided the fate of hopeful chefs from all over the country as a judge on the show, Top Chef. She's also the author of the new cookbook, Bringing It Home. We asked Simmons to be part of our Key 3 series, in which we ask chefs, food writers, and celebrities to tell us about their three most go-to dishes. She told us about two of her favorites, chicken wings and butterscotch pudding.

Acid trip: searching the world for unique vinegars

Oct 20, 2017

Acidity is a key component to skillful cooking. Chefs are always talking about how a splash of acidic vinegar is what elevates a dish. Michael Harlan Turkell has spent his entire career around chefs, first as a cook himself, and then as a photographer and writer. During the time it took write and research his new book, Acid Trip, he’s become an expert on vinegars.

Sous vide basics with America’s Test Kitchen

Oct 20, 2017

Sous vide is a wonderfully easy cooking technique. Essentially, you create a warm water bath in which to slow-poach food that has been sealed in a plastic bag. Thanks to modern technology, most sous vide equipment is now lighter in weight, more precise, and – most importantly – affordable. So, it’s no surprise that the process is catching on with home cooks. For more insight into this low-maintenance cooking method, Francis Lam talked with Molly Birnbaum, executive director of science at America’s Test Kitchen.

For more than a week, Marisol Paniagua has been living at an evacuation center. She had been scheduled to pick grapes at a vineyard near the city of Santa Rosa, Calif. But that work was canceled because of the wildfires ravaging Northern California.

"It's very difficult right now because we just have a little bit of gas left in our car. That's how we are still able to drive around," said Paniagua, 37. "But the fact is, we have nothing."

In Northern California, two intoxicants are king — wine and weed.

Both products drive the $3.2 billion-a-year tourism industry in Napa and Sonoma counties. But as wildfires continue to rage through the region this week, marijuana growers and winemakers are struggling to keep their crops safe.

Jason Parrott/Tri States Public Radio

Two cases of Legionnaires' disease have been reported at a western Illinois veterans' home more than two years after an outbreak killed 12 people and sickened 54 at the facility.

In 1620, the Rev. George Thorpe sent a letter from a plantation near Jamestown, Va., to England describing a "good drinke of Indian corne" that he and his fellow colonists had made. Historians have speculated that Thorpe was talking about unaged corn whiskey, and that his distillation efforts on the banks of Virginia's James River might have produced America's first whiskey.

It's a bright fall morning in Santa Cruz County, Calif., and the tennis area at Brommer Street Park is overrun with dozens of people. But they aren't here for tennis. Instead, cadences of pick-pock sounds fill the air as doubles players — many in their 50s and older — whack yellow Wiffle-like balls back and forth on eight minicourts.

This recreational craze, which has an estimated 2.8 million players nationally, has a quirky name: pickleball.

Rasika, an Indian restaurant in Washington, D.C., has won just about every recognition possible. The Washington Post called it the No. 1 restaurant in the city. The chef has won a James Beard award — basically the Oscars of the food world. President Obama celebrated his birthday there — twice. And though the place has been open for more than a decade, it is only just now coming out with a cookbook.

Pez diablo: "devil fish." That's what locals in the Mexican state of Tabasco call the armored catfish that has invaded their waters.

Also known as suckermouths, the species is popular with aquarium owners because the fish eats the algae that pollute tanks. But in the wild, that same behavior erodes shorelines and devastates underwater plant life.

A Mexican social enterprise called Acari is trying to do something about it — by creating a taste for these aquatic terrors.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

One-third of all the food produced each year for human consumption is never eaten. That adds up to about 1.3 billion tons of waste per year. That unappetizing fact is the inspiration for a new documentary, Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, which was released on Oct. 13 in theaters and on demand.

$1.25 million.

That’s the size of the bill that could have shuttered the only public hospital in rural Pemiscot County, Missouri in August 2013.

$750,000 for payroll. $500,000 for a bond payment. $1.25 million total. One August day in 2013, the hospital’s CEO Kerry Noble had to face facts: The money just wasn’t there. It took an emergency bailout from a local bank to keep their doors open. For now.

They had me at "parmesan pepper bread." There are plenty of cookbooks that delight the eyes with beautiful photography, but the new self-titled cookbook from Zingerman's Bakehouse (and the first proper cookbook from the lauded Zingerman's 10 businesses) in Ann Arbor, Mich., is not a coffee table book.

Written by bakery co-owners Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo, the book does have some mouthwatering images, but its real appeal lies in the no-nonsense recipes that seem like they're just an oven-preheat away from appearing warm and fresh in your kitchen.

As soybean and cotton farmers across the Midwest and South continue to see their crops ravaged from the weed killer dicamba, new complaints have pointed to the herbicide as a factor in widespread damage to oak trees.

Monsanto and BASF, two of agriculture’s largest seed and pesticide providers, released versions of the dicamba this growing season. The new versions came several months after Monsanto released its latest cotton and soybean seeds genetically engineered to resist dicamba in 2016. Since then, farmers across the Midwest and South have blamed drift from dicamba for ruining millions of acres of soybeans and cotton produced by older versions of seeds.

Now, complaints have emerged that the misuse of dicamba may be responsible for damage to oak trees in Iowa, Illinois and Tennessee.

In the early 1980s, the BBC approached novelist Kazuo Ishiguro — this year's Nobel laureate for literature – and asked if he would write a television screenplay. He agreed, quit his day job, and wrote The Gourmetan absurdist, gothic satire about hunger in its many dimensions: physical, spiritual and sensual. His exploration of what food means to different sections of society — bread for the poor, a circus for the rich — is as strikingly relevant today as it was 30 years ago.

President Trump made his view of the North American Free Trade Agreement very clear during the presidential election. He called NAFTA "the worst trade deal in ... the history of this country." And Trump blamed NAFTA for the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

His administration is in the midst of renegotiating the free trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and that is making many U.S. farmers and ranchers nervous.

Hugh Acheson's new book, The Chef and The Slow Cooker, doesn't show much cooking. Instead it shows the Top Chef judge reading in a lawn chair, taking a hot bath or playing the cello (even though he admits he's "about as musically inclined as a rock.") It's about what you can cook while you do something else – even if that something else takes hours.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it will let farmers keep spraying the weedkilling chemical dicamba on Monsanto's new dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. The decision is a victory for the biotech giant and the farmers who want to use the company's newest weedkilling technology.

When most of us are hungry for lunch, we pick up supplies at the grocery store or stop by the nearby cafe with the best lunch specials. Not Nick Spero. He goes outside and forages his own meal.

A nation's flag embodies a defining aspect of its identity. It could be related to geography (the rising sun in Japan), nature (the maple leaf of Canada or the cedar of Lebanon), religion (the Christian cross or the Islamic crescent and star), political ideology (the hammer and sickle) or mythology (the Welsh dragon).

In a new book on flags, A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols, Tim Marshall explores how a "piece of colored cloth" can arouse profound emotions of loyalty, love and pride in the breasts of its citizens.

Rob Gimpel is usually thinking about getting tulip bulbs in the ground this time of year, but right now he's ready to harvest pumpkins.

It's an unusual activity for Gimpel, the lead gardener of the areas around the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., but one that he's been thoroughly enjoying as part of this year's War Garden project. The project commemorates the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entering World War I in 1917 — when such veggie plots — also referred to as "victory" or "liberty" gardens — were first conceived as part of the war effort on the homefront.

For years, doctors have been warning us that high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, illegal drug use and diabetes increase our chances of having a potentially fatal stroke.

And yet, most of the stroke patients showing up at hospitals from 2004 to 2014 had one or more of these risk factors. And the numbers of people at risk in this way tended to grow among all age groups and ethnicities in that time period.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Just a few months after a controversial tax on sugary drinks took effect in Cook County, Ill. - that's where Chicago is - commissioners have voted to repeal it. As NPR's Allison Aubrey reports, it is a big win for big soda companies.

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