Donna Vestal helped launch Harvest Public Media in 2010 with the support of a dedicated team of journalists. A newspaper veteran, she worked nearly 18 years as a business editor for The Kansas City Star, where she directed small business, retail, development, workplace and health care beats, among others. Donna’s agriculture focus dates back to the 1980s, when she served as news editor of The Packer, a national weekly newspaper for the fruit and vegetable industry. She also was the lead researcher and writer for “A Century of Produce,” a book commemorating The Packer’s 100th anniversary. Donna has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and an MBA from the University of Kansas. She works out of KCUR’s ofﬁces in Kansas City.
Jeremy Bernfeld is Harvest Public Media’s multimedia editor, based at KCUR in Kansas City. New to the Midwest, Jeremy comes to Harvest from Boston where he helped build wbur.org, named the best news website in the country by the Radio Television Digital News Association. He has covered blizzards and tornadoes and the natural disaster that was the Red Sox’ 2011 season. A proud graduate of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, Jeremy’s work has appeared in the Boston Globe, The Kansas City Star, the (Falmouth, Maine) Forecaster, APM's Marketplace and on NPR’s Morning Edition and Only a Game. He's on Twitter @jeremyHPM.
Peggy Lowe, who runs the Harvest Network, returns to the Midwest after 22 years as a journalist in Denver and Southern California. Most recently she was at The Orange County Register, where she was a multimedia producer and writer. In Denver she worked for The Associated Press, The Denver Post and the late, great Rocky Mountain News. She was on the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of Columbine. Peggy was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan in 2008-2009. She is from O'Neill, the Irish Capital of Nebraska, and now lives in Kansas City.
Grant Gerlock is Harvest Public Media's reporter at NET News, where he started as Morning Edition host in 2008. He joined Harvest Public Media in July 2012. Grant has visited coal plants, dairy farms, horse tracks and hospitals to cover a variety of stories. Before going to Nebraska, Grant studied mass communication as a grad student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and completed his undergrad at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He grew up on a farm in southwestern Iowa where he listened to public radio in the tractor, but has taken up city life in Lincoln, Neb.
Abbie Fentress Swansonjoined Harvest Public Media in 2012. Before that, shecovered arts and culture for WNYC Radio in New York. There she was part of a team that won an Online News Association award in 2012 and an Associated Press award in 2010 for outstanding digital news coverage. In 2011, she won the Garden State Journalists Association "Best Radio Feature" award for "Music Therapy Helps Vets Control Symptoms of PTSD." Reporting fellowships prior to WNYC took her to Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, India, Germany, the Czech Republic and Belgium. Abbie's travels led to multimedia stories on a wide range of subjects -- from the World Cup in South Africa, to the gay rights movement in India, to San Francisco's immigration court. She's filed stories for The New York Times, The Patriot Ledger, KALW Public Radio, The World, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Abbie holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in Italian studies from the College of William & Mary. Check her out on twitter @dearabbie.
Amy Mayer joined Harvest Public Media in 2012 and works in Iowa Public Radio’s Ames office. Amy worked as an independent producer for many years and also previously had stints as weekend news host and reporter at WFCR in Amherst, Mass., and as a reporter and host/producer of a weekly call-in health show at KUAC in Fairbanks, Ala. Amy’s work has earned awards from SPJ, the Alaska Press Club and the Massachusetts/Rhode Island AP. She produced the 2011 documentary Peace Corps Voices, which aired in over 160 communities across the country and has written for The New York Times, Boston Globe, Real Simple and other print outlets. Since the spring of 2008, Amy has served on the board of directors of the Association of Independents in Radio. Amy has a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies from Wellesley College and a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.
Bill Wheelhouse, Harvest Public Media’s reporter in Springfield, Ill., comes to Harvest with a background of covering state government and rural issues. For the past eight years, Bill was general manager of public radio station WUIS in Springfield. Prior to that, he spent a decade as State Capitol bureau chief for Illinois Public Radio. During his time in the Illinois statehouse Bill won several awards including Best Investigative Reporter from the Associated Press and Best Statehouse Beat Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors in 2004. Bill also spent eight years as News Director at WIUM public radio in Macomb, Ill., and is a past president of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association.
Luke Runyon is Harvest Public Media’s reporter based at KUNC in northern Colorado. He joined the Harvest team in March 2013. Luke comes to Harvest by way of Aspen, Colo., where he was a reporter for Aspen Public Radio for two years. While there he filed stories for NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. Before moving to Colorado, Luke covered the Illinois legislature for WUIS and Illinois Public Radio. He has a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield and his work has been recognized by the Colorado Broadcasters Association and Public Radio News Directors, Inc. Follow him on Twitter @LukeRunyon.
Frank Morris is the founder and executive supervisor for Harvest Public Media. He also is the news director at KCUR, presiding over the station's news coverage since 1999. Frank also ﬁles regularly with National Public Radio and has covered everything from tornados to tax law. His work has won dozens of awards, including four national Public Radio News Directors awards (PRNDIs) and several regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Frank grew up in rural Kansas, listening to the public radio station out of Hutchinson. He worked as a DJ throughout college at the University of Kansas. After graduating with degrees in philosophy and political science, Frank went to work at an AM news/talk station in Lawrence, Kan., and later at the statehouse in Topeka for Kansas Public Radio. He started at KCUR in 1991.
ABOUT HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA
Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and ﬁeld. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest covers these agriculture-related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.
WHY FOOD, FUEL AND FIELD?
Global demand for food and fuel is rising, and the push and pull for resources has serious ramiﬁcations for our country’s economic prosperity. What’s more, we all eat, so we all have a stake in how our food is produced In the Midwest, in particular, today’s emerging agenda for agriculture is headlined by climate change, food safety, biofuel production, animal welfare, water quality, and sustainability. By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Harvest is filling a critical information void. See a list of the journalism awards we've won.
HOW WE REPORT
Most Harvest Public Media stories begin with radio — regular reports are aired on our member stations in the Midwest. But Harvest also explores issues through online analyses, television documentaries and features, podcasts, photography, video, blogs and social networking. We are committed to the highest journalistic standards. Click here to read our ethics policy.
Harvest Public Media is a Local Journalism Center launched in 2010 with the support of a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Today, the collaboration is supported by CPB, the partner stations, and contributions from underwriters and individuals.
FULL PARTNER STATIONS
KCUR in Kansas City (lead station); Iowa Public Radio; NET, which operates public TV and radio networks statewide in Nebraska; KBIA in Columbia, Mo.; WUIS in Springfield, Ill; and KUNC in Greeley, Colo.
High Plains Public Radio/KANZ in Garden City, Kan.; Kansas Public Radio/KANU in Lawrence; and Tri States Public Radio in Macomb, Ill.