Food

Food doesn't come from a grocery store. All of our latest stories to help you learn more about where your food comes from.

Ways to Connect

Seth Bodine / Harvest Public Media

Pumpkin patches and corn mazes are common on the outskirts of cities, but even more rural areas are getting in on the action. 

Dana Cronin

In the midst of what has otherwise been a heavy, unrelenting year, many Midwesterners have found solace in the dirt.

 

So-called “COVID gardens” have popped up all over the country since the beginning of the pandemic with more people working from home and becoming self-reliant in the wake of food supply disruptions.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Farmers in the South were paid more on average than those in the Midwest and Great Plains from a government program set up to offset the losses due to the trade war with China, according to a new study from the Government Accountability Office.

After China placed retaliatory tariffs on crops, the U.S. Department of Agriculture created the Market Facilitation Program to help farmers make up the lost income. 

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media file photo

First restaurants and school cafeterias closed, then COVID-19 outbreaks at meat-packing plants slowed processing. In the spring, shoppers started seeing signs declaring limits on the amount of fresh meat they could buy in one trip. Prices for some products crept up. 

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.

 

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media file photo

Dairy Farmers want U.S. trade policy to focus on opening markets and fending off competition from the European Union and New Zealand.

U.S. dairy exports were up about 10% in the first half of 2020 compared to last year. But that’s not enough to return the sector to profitability, according to dairy farmers and producers that are participating in a series of virtual town hall meetings on trade issues.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

As the new school year gets underway, some students are in classrooms and others are at home but one thing is now clear: all kids can get free school meals. That’s because the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program and the Summer Food Service Program, has extended the pandemic provisions it introduced last spring, which include eliminating the requirement that families apply for reduced-fees or free meals. 

Courtesy of Katie Plohocky

While COVID-19 has hampered farmers this year by forcing many farmers markets and restaurants to close, usually it’s the weather that threatens crops. A practice called “gleaning” helps save crops from going to waste while feeding those in need. 

Heavy rain was causing flooding all along the Arkansas River. Before Joe Tierney knew it, water from the nearby creek was creeping forward onto his farm in Bixby, Oklahoma. He had to evacuate, leaving behind fields full of vegetables. All Tierney could do was watch the water get closer and closer, he says.

Christina Stella / Harvest Public Media

Lexington, Nebraska, is just one of the many rural communities that has long dealt with food insecurity, but the global pandemic both intensified need in the town of 11,000 residents and presented new challenges in getting people food. 

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.”

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