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Katie Peikes / Harvest Public Media

What Caring For Bees Teaches Inmates About Life Beyond Prison

On a hot day in July, Darrell, who is serving time at the Clarinda Correctional Facility, pulled a black carrot out of the ground from one of the prison’s three large gardens. He stared at the carrot in amazement and laughed. “Wow! Look at that,” Darrell said. “Never in life would I ever think that … I only thought carrots were yellow and orange.”

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Katie Peikes / Harvest Public Media

On a recent hot Saturday morning at the Des Moines Farmers Market, lots of people walked by a tent that had signs hanging from it: “dare to eat differently” and “eat prairie lobster.” Some people scrunched their faces in disgust. Others – like the Gohr family – were curious.

“Should we try a cricket, guys?” Charles Gohr asked his daughters.   


Seth Bodine / Harvest Public Media

 Rural areas are often the last to receive broadband. The lack of broadband is similar to another issue that rural communities faced decades ago — rural electrification. 

 

About 22% of Americans who live in rural areas that lack broadband, compared to 1.5% of those in cities, according to the Federal Communications Commission. 

a hand holds a bunch of lavender
Rachel Schnelle / KBIA

While Missouri is known for many crops, lavender is not necessarily one of them — but one couple in mid-Missouri decided to give it a try.

Katie Lockwood and her husband both work for the University of Missouri System's IT department but have also been hobby farmers for 20 years.

So, when they moved to Centralia in 2011 and had a small plot of land beside their house, they weren’t sure what to do.

Katie said, for her — it was simple. She had always wanted to try and grow lavender. But, as they quickly realized, it was a different kind of crop than they were used to.

Jonathan Ahl / Harvest Public Media

Trees' role in agriculture tend to be viewed as limited to the lumber industry or highly organized orchards to grow fruits, but some farmers are looking to the forest floor to get more people into agriculture, at least part-time. 

Dennis Lindberg’s five acres in southern Missouri don’t look like a farm. Amongst the trees on the sloping ground are smatterings of small, green plants. Those are his crops. 

Purdue University Extension

A fungus that attacks vegetables has shown up early this year, and that could threaten the availability of pumpkin pie filling at Thanksgiving.

Phytophthora blight is a vine infection that can damage vegetables including peppers, cucumbers, squash and pumpkins. It shows up most years, but this summer, heavy rains in late June and early July have made it appear early.

Erica Hunzinger / Harvest Public Media

Updated July 9, 12:09 p.m.: President Joe Biden issued an executive order on Friday directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make rules to increase competition in the meat industry, according to a White House announcement. 

The new rules are part of 72 initiatives to increase competition in the economy.

Dana Cronin / Harvest Public Media

Millions of rural residents across the Midwest are at risk of nitrate contamination in their drinking water, but they might not know it.

 

Many rural residents get their drinking water from private wells, which are not regulated by state or federal governments. And if residents aren’t regularly testing their well water, they could be at risk of contamination.

 

Dana Cronin / Harvest Public Media

Amid a push from the Biden administration for U.S. agriculture to help slow climate change, a new study shows farmers in the Corn Belt are dropping the ball on adopting a climate-friendly practice.

 

A mountain of research shows the benefits of planting cover crops -- from sequestering carbon from the environment to keeping waterways cleaner. 

 

Katie Piekes / Iowa Public Radio

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday sided with three small oil refineries seeking exemptions from requirements to blend ethanol into their gasoline. The decision overturns an appellate court ruling from last year.

The ruling sets a precedent, giving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency more leeway in granting exemptions to oil refineries to rules intended to promote the use of corn-based ethanol and other fuel made from renewable sources. 

Erica Hunzinger / Harvest Public Media file photo

As states like Kansas and Oklahoma let their emergency declarations run out, they effectively take a pass on extra federal help with food stamps.

 

Nearly one in five families struggled to afford food at the height of the pandemic. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) allotments were maxed out to reduce food insecurity. 

 

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Change At The Climate Divide

Farms and communities are struggling to adapt as climate change has moved the line dividing the arid west and the rain-soaked east.

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