Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 1:29 pm
Coffee has been grown since at least the 13th century in places such as Indonesia, Ethiopia and Central and South America. Though it's not a traditional region for growing coffee, California is playing an increasingly big role in the future of this beloved and lucrative crop.
Sammy Venegas stands on a hillside in Goleta, Calif., outside Santa Barbara, that's shrouded in fog, thick with avocado trees, passion fruit and coffee plants. With a white bucket slung around his neck like a baby carrier, he picks only the reddest coffee beans.
Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 10:52 am
The federal government is about to put $100 million behind a simple idea: doubling the value of SNAP benefits â€” what used to be called food stamps â€” when people use them to buy local fruits and vegetables.
This idea did not start on Capitol Hill. It began as a local innovation at a few farmers' markets. But it proved remarkably popular and spread across the country.
"It's so simple, but it has such profound effects both for SNAP recipients and for local farmers," says Mike Appell, a vegetable farmer who sells his produce at a market in Tulsa, Okla.
Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 6:21 pm
There's an apple renaissance underway, an ever-expanding array of colors and tastes in the apple section of supermarkets and farmers markets.
Less visible is the economic machinery that's helping to drive this revolution. An increasing number of these new apples are "club apples" â€” varieties that are not just patented, but also trademarked and controlled in such a way that only a select "club" of farmers can sell them.
To understand the new trend, start with the hottest apple variety of recent years: Honeycrisp.
Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 3:45 pm
Making license plates is the stereotypical job for a prisoner, but in California's Central Valley, a group of inmates are doing very different work, supplying milk to almost every prisoner in the state system.
They earn just 35 to 95 cents an hour, but inmates at Corcoran state prison say the job gives them plenty of other benefits.
Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 9:08 am
As I scrolled through tweets about a panel on agricultural entrepreneurs at the SXSW Eco conference earlier this month, one caught my eye. The sender was Vance Crowe, Monsanto's director of millennial engagement.
Corporate America is currently caught up in a torrid infatuation with millennials, who befuddle and torment the companies who want their dollars.
Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 2:06 pm
Could that beloved farmer at your farmers market possibly be lying to you, passing off supermarket produce as locally grown?
California's state officials seem to think so. Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law that will raise $1 million to deploy a small army of inspectors to farmers markets around the state. The inspectors will check for signs that farmers are selling fruits and vegetables that they didn't actually grow themselves, but instead picked up wholesale.
Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 11:46 am
Mute Schimpf doesn't want to eat American chicken. That's because most U.S. poultry is chilled in antimicrobial baths that can include chlorine to keep salmonella and other bacteria in check. In Europe, chlorine treatment was banned in the 1990s out of fear that it could cause cancer.
"In Europe there is definitely a disgust about chlorinated chicken," says Schimpf, a food activist with Friends of the Earth Europe, an environmental group.
Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 4:08 pm
It's apple season, and if you go to the supermarket you'll find the usual suspects: Red and Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, MacIntosh. But these big, shiny, perfect apples often look better than they taste. Thankfully, there's a whole world of heirloom apples out there â€” fruit that may look funky, but tastes fantastic, with flavors unlike any you've tried before.
On this week's Local Motion, weâ€™ll be looking at organic farming, and really, what that means.Â There are a number of unique certifications that differentiate produce from conventional farming.Â It can get a little confusing as to what the word "organic" means, what makes a farm certified USDA organic, and why some farmers choose different programs, or none at all. Â
KVNF's Jake Ryan talked to Steve Ela, Mark Waltermire, Lynn Gillespie, and Don Holt.Â
The 2nd Annual Western Slope Colorado Food & Farm Forum is coming up on Saturday, January 11th at the Montrose Pavilion. The conference brings together farmers, ranchers and others in the ag industry for conversations about sustainability, food production and marketing.Â
For some details about the conference and this year's main theme of "Making Every Drop Count," we spoke to Carol Parker, President of the Valley Food Partnership based in Montrose.
For decades, housing developments in the suburbs have come complete with golf courses, tennis courts, strip malls and swimming pools. But make way for the new subdivision amenity: the specialty farm.
A new model for suburban development is springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement. Farms, complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees, are serving as a way to entice potential buyers to settle in a new subdivision.
Fall is planting time for wheat across the Great Plains and this yearâ€™s crop went into the ground while big changes were underway in the wheat market. Some of the biggest players in the flour milling industry are joining forces to make the countryâ€™s largest miller even larger.