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Tossed Out

  • About 35 million tons of food was dumped in landfills across the U.S. in 2012, compared to 29 million tons of plastic and 24 million tons of paper. (Pat Aylward/NET News)

    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.

  • On-farm and post-harvest loss accounts for about 40 percent of food waste in the developing world, according to the U.N. But it is credited with relatively small levels of waste in most industrialized countries. (Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)

    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.

  • Todd Scherbing, Smithfield Foods’ senior director of rendering, holds a tray of pituitary glands that are cut from hogs on the line in the Farmland Foods plant in Milan, Mo. Pituitary glands are used in pharmaceuticals. (Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media)

    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.

  • Nearly one-third of the more than 400 million pounds of food available at grocery stores and restaurants is never eaten. (Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media)

    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.

  • Gloria Restrepo, a teacher’s assistant at Harris Bilingual Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colo., helps students choose their lunch. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

    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.

Welcome to Harvest Public Media

Crop dusting pilots fly the plane while dodging trees, homes, power lines and on-lookers and they have to make sure not to pour pesticides onto a farmhouse or sprinkle the wrong seeds on a neighbor’s field.

The percentage of women farmers is climbing in part because the women who have always worked the land are finally being called farmers.

Millions of migrant workers harvest some of the nation's most important crops. But despite their essential contribution, many migrant workers still struggle to obtain a full education and basic healthcare services.

With crop prices falling, many young and beginning farmers are struggling to make the investments required to grow their business, putting them at-risk of stalling out and sliding deeper into debt.

The Farm Bill was supposed to save taxpayers money. But a massive drop in prices for the nation’s largest crops means that many farmers may rely on the farm safety net this year and could herald large government payouts.

As the legal marijuana growing industry continues to grow in Colorado, warehouses and offices that can be used as indoor grow facilities continue to be hot commodities.

The sheep herd in the U.S. is declining, but there has been a wool resurgence in local, niche markets. Some sheep ranchers are taking advantage.

For years, Latino immigrants have filled some of the least-glamorous, most physically taxing jobs in farming. The children of those immigrants may be uniquely qualified to lead the future of the Midwest’s agricultural economy, if they decide to embark on an ag career.

Immigration is helping to re-shape what agriculture looks like in the Midwest. Farming is already more ethnically diverse than it was even a decade ago and immigrants of all stripes are working the land.

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