Tossed Out

  • Vegetable farmer Tom Goeke of St. Charles, Mo., sells his Red Deuce tomatoes wholesale at about $1.50 per pound. (Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media)

    While sun and rain might be free, tomato farmers have to carefully weigh everything else they put in to growing their crop. Research and the development of new tools – from novel seed varieties resistant to diseases to additional fertilizers – has changed the input costs for growers.

  • Photographer Marji Guyler-Alaniz rode horseback to take this photo of a woman herding cattle in southern Iowa. (Courtesy Marji Guyler-Alaniz/FarmHer)

    If artist's use their work to understand the human experience, it makes sense that many Midwest artists turn their lens, brushes, sculptures and words on agriculture and farming.

  • Organic Alternatives Manager Maka Kalaí holds a card with cannabis safety tips. The cards were developed by the Cannabis Business Alliance and are handed out with every purchase at the Fort Collins, Colo., store. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

    When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use earlier this year, it also opened up the sale of food products infused with the drug to anyone over the age of 21. That means a whole set of bakers and food companies have to ensure their products aren’t contaminated with foodborne pathogens, and that they’re not falling in to the hands of children or too potent to eat.

  • Before it defaulted on loans and was shuttered by regulator, the Pierce Elevator was a major business in town. (Bill Kelly/NET News)

    When a Nebraska grain elevator failed, farmers were left with about $9 million in unpaid claims and little safety net to turn to.

  • Dairy cows like these on Dorine Boelen’s farm in Brooklyn, Iowa, can be treated with antibiotics, but their bodies must be free of the medication before they are allowed to contribute milk to the food supply. (Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)

    The same technology used at crime scenes to link a stray hair to a suspect can also find medications in milk and meat. And the use of sophisticated testing is becoming increasingly available for livestock producers, who stand to lose lots of money if their products are tainted. 

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Tossed Out, part 6: Cities across the country are trying to turn the millions of tons of food that Americans waste into something more valuable.

Tossed Out, part 5: In many communities, the local school district is the largest food provider. But trying to feed healthy food to some of the pickiest eaters can result in mountains of wasted food.

Tossed Out, part 4: With food retail stores catering to consumers’ demand for immaculate food around the clock, food waste is piling up in the store and at home.

Tossed Out, part 3: Americans eat only about half of the meat produced by farm animals. But most of the rest of the animal is made into every day products through rendering - what some call the original recycling process.

Tossed Out, part 2: In the developing world as much as 40 percent of the food supply never makes it from farmers to consumers, according to some estimates. But here in the U.S., planning, technology and infrastructure help minimize waste on the farm, pushing almost everything grown out to consumers.

Tossed Out, part 1: As more than a third of the U.S. food supply is squandered, nearly one in seven American househoulds has trouble finding enough to eat. Millions of pounds of edible food rots in landfills and releases toxic greenhouse gases.

Farmed for more than 80 years, land the now forms the Emiquon Nature Preserve is being returned to its natural wetland state. Just years in the making, the transformation is already dramatic.

Like your grandmother’s engagement ring or a dusty old photo album, heirloom seeds have been passed down through generations. And that has been made possible by organizations like the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa.

As the USDA's meat inspection division gets set to implement new rules on the inspection of poultry plants, the division faces staffing issues and questions about the inspection program's relationship to the meat industry.

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