Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 12:20 pm
The federal government banned the sale of raw milk across state lines nearly three decades ago because it poses a threat to public health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association all strongly advise people not to drink it.
Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 3:29 pm
As most people know, mushrooms love dark places. You can find them growing in the dim recesses of forests or at the foot of old trees. But is that where we get most of the mushrooms that end up in our hearty risottos and juicy portabella sandwiches?
Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 2:57 pm
On a breezy morning next to a cornfield in rural Weld County, Colo., Jimmy Underhill quickly assembles a black and orange drone with four spinning rotors.
"This one just flies itself," he says. "It's fully autonomous."
Underhill is a drone technician with Agribotix, a Colorado-based drone startup that sees farmers as its most promising market. Today he's training his fellow employees how to work the machine in the field.
Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 6:25 am
After more than a decade of explosive growth, sales of local food at U.S. farmers' markets are slowing. A January report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that while more farmers are selling directly to consumers, local food sales at farmers markets, farm stands and through community supported agriculture have lost some momentum.
Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 10:34 am
2014 brought with it an abundance of grain for Colorado farmers and it doesn’t look likely to change in 2015. While farmers wait for a rebound, the new year could bring substantive policy change.
Great Plains farmers are unlikely to see relief in 2015 from sluggish commodity crop prices, according to Brian Kuehl, director of federal affairs with K-Coe Isom, one of the country’s largest agricultural consulting firms. Kuehl spoke at an economic forecast event in Greeley.
Host Jill Spears and gardening guru Lance Swigart discuss seed saving - how & why to grow your own garden seeds. A Montrose caller has an interesting bean crossbreed, and another caller wonders how to protect her corn crop from being cross-pollinated by her neighbor's GMO corn.
Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 1:05 pm
Humans have been growing hemp for centuries. Hemp-based foods have taken off recently. So have lotions and soaps that use hemp oil. Studies underway now are examining how different compounds in cannabis could be used as medicine. There’s hope its chemical compounds could hold keys to medical treatments for Parkinson’s disease and childhood epilepsy.
Scientists studying industrial hemp say the plant holds a tremendous amount of promise. But to unlock its potential there’s very basic scientific research to be done.
Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 1:17 pm
Many beer aficionados are familiar with the rare breweries run by Trappist monks. The beer is highly sought after, but it's not the only food or drink made by a religious order. Many abbeys and convents have deep roots in agriculture, combining farm work with prayer.
Federal researchers are on a mission to back up the genetic material of the plants and animals that the nation’s food supply depends on. A pair of ranchers in the hills of western Colorado are joining in and are trying to ensure the future of the rare Black Welsh Mountain sheep.
It’s a sunny morning at Desert Weyr, a 40-acre sheep farm outside of Paonia, Colorado.
Oogie McGuire and her husband own this farm. They raise Black Welsh Mountain sheep. They’re smaller than the white sheep most people are used to seeing. They’re solid black, and the males have curled horns.
Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 9:45 am
The average American farmer is a white man in his late 50s. Or at least, that's who's in charge of the farm, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
But the number of female-run farms has tripled since the 1970s, to nearly 14 percent in 2012. And if you dig a little deeper, you'll find women are showing up in new roles. But because of the way farm businesses are structured, women's work often isn't included in those USDA counts.
Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 4:18 pm
Farmers who just got into the business in recent years found it was a good time to both plant and harvest.
"We were all spoiled little brats the past two years, with $5, $6, $7 corn, yep," says farmer Grant Curtis.
He's sitting in the captain's chair of his combine on a brisk, overcast day in western Illinois. He's driving back and forth over rows of corn on his family's farm. Then he arcs the 80,000-pound machine off course towards a single stalk he missed.
Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 5:42 pm
California's Humboldt County is known for its towering redwoods. But this region about 200 miles north of San Francisco has another claim to fame. Humboldt is to weed what Napa is to fine wine — it's the heart of marijuana production in the U.S.
Every fall, young people, mostly in their 20s, come from all over the world to work the marijuana harvest. They come seeking jobs as "trimmers" — workers who manicure the buds to get them ready for market. The locals have a name for these young migrant workers: "trimmigrants."
This will be the last program for this season with Lance Swigart & Lulu Volkhausen.
The panel started with an emailed question about grapes that aren't thriving, & show blotchy colors on the leaves. The show continues with discussion about seed saving, Hutterite beans, tool maintenance, Lance's magnificent compost pile, and more.
To honor the Thanksgiving holiday, Lance expounds on being thankful for the past 10,000 years of human efforts to grow crops, which has resulted in our current plethora of food varieties & growing methods.
KVNF's gardening gurus discussed finishing up this year's garden and prepping for next year. Callers from Norwood & Nucla asked about the wisdom of adding potato foliage to the compost pile, and for garlic-growing advice.
Tip of the week: Don't burn fallen leaves! Doing that is like stealing nutrients from your soil, since the trees take up those nutrients to create the leaves in the first place. Better to just run the lawn mower over them & leave them to decompose, or, if you must rake, pile them up somewhere & wait for nature to turn them back into soil.
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 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.
Government regulators have approved a new generation of genetically engineered corn and soybeans. They're the latest weapon in an arms race between farmers and weeds, and the government's green light is provoking angry opposition from environmentalists.