Dana Cronin

Reporter

Dana Cronin is a reporter based in Urbana, Illinois. She covers food and agriculture issues in Illinois for Harvest.

Dana started reporting in southern Colorado at member station 91.5 KRCC, where she spent three years writing about everything from agriculture to Colorado’s highest mountain peaks.

She then went to work at her hometown station, KQED, in San Francisco. While there, she covered the 2017 North Bay Fires.

She spent the last two years at NPR’s headquarters in Washington D.C., producing for shows including Weekend Edition and All Things Considered.

Ways to Connect

Dana Cronin/Harvest Public Media

 

At a campaign rally in Wisconsin last week, President Trump announced U.S. farmers will receive an additional $14 billion in coronavirus relief aid.

 

This second round of relief aid builds on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program launched in April to allocate $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers. 

 

However, the initial round of CFAP still has $6 billion unpaid dollars in the pot.

 

Dana Cronin/Harvest Public Media

 

Ja Nelle Pleasure never used to think twice about putting food on the table for her family.

In fact, the Pleasure family revolved around food. One of their favorite activities was to spin a globe, put a finger down and cook a dish from the country where it lands.

“It was a lot of fun because we got to eat all over the place, stuff that none of us would have dared try before, like silkworms,” she says. “They really look disgusting and scary… But when you eat it, it tastes like popcorn.”

Erica Hunzinger / Harvest Public Media file photo

 

Before the pandemic, the food pantry at St. Patrick Church in Urbana, Ill. served meals to more than 100 families per week. They operated with the help of about 60 volunteers, most of whom are retirees.

Since the pandemic, nearly 20 of them have stopped volunteering. 

Courtesy of Aaron Lehman

Midwestern farmers are assessing crop and infrastructure damage after a high-wind storm, known as a derecho, ripped through the region Monday. 

Iowa and Illinois were two of the hardest hit states, with tens of millions of acres of crops in the path of the storm.

Dana Cronin/Harvest Public Media

 

When you walk into Cyndy Ash’s barn, one of the first things you notice is a huge burlap sack, bursting at the seams with wool.

“We’re sitting on about 600 lbs of wool from when they were sheared last. And it’s been sitting there since they were sheared in March,” Ash says.

 

Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media file photo

 

The number of families experiencing food insecurity has hit a record due to the pandemic, and Black and Hispanic families are disproportionately affected.

 

A new study from Northwestern University, based on Census Bureau data, shows that 40% of Black households and 36% of Hispanic households are struggling to afford food. Meanwhile, about 22% of white households are reporting food insecurity.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media file photo

 

In the past two weeks, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued about $1.4 billion to agricultural producers to provide a boost amid the coronavirus pandemic.

What’s unclear is how those distributions were calculated.

 

“We lack some pretty key transparency on how they get to the payment,” says Jonathan Coppess, Assistant Professor of agriculture at the University of Illinois.

 

John Paul Coonrod

 

John Paul Coonrod usually recognizes most of his customers. Lately, though, he says there have been a lot of unfamiliar faces at Great Scott! Community Market

The small grocery store opened in Winchester, Ill. last year in what was once an old shoe store. It stocks your standard dried goods, canned goods and craft beer and wine, and has a deli section in back. 

And since the start of the pandemic, the store has seen more business than ever.

Preston Keres / U.S. Department of Agriculture

 

Meatpacking plants are starting to reopen after President Trump signed an executive order intended to prevent shortages.

Now, some county health officials are weighing in, and say they’re concerned plants in their areas weren’t closed long enough.

Provided by Mapleglen Care Center

 

Like many small business owners, Amy Manganelli has taken a financial hit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. So, a few weeks ago, she decided to apply for a small business loan from the federal government.

She was turned down.

Manganelli is the co-owner of Mapleglen Care Center, a cannabis dispensary in Rockford, Ill.

“We're a legitimate business in every sense of the word, until it comes to some kind of government program that might assist,” she says.

Pages