Stephanie Butcher
August 06, 2013

Annie’s Project Turns 10

There are more women involved with the business of farming than ever before. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about “Annie’s Project,” a program designed by an Illinois woman in memory of her mother that works to empower female farmers.


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an unmanned aerial vehicle
DroneJournalism.org
April 04, 2013

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Calling them unmanned aerial vehicles sounds just as scary as calling them drones, but what do we really mean when we talk about this technology? This hour on Focus, we talked about drones, how they are being used and how they’re not. We also heard from an Urbana man working to advance the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in journalism and to inspire high school students to study math and science.


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August 31, 2012

Farmers Markets

Janine MacLachlan, Food Writer, Blogger, and Founder of The Rustic Kitchen Cooking School

Lisa Bralts, Economic Development Specialist Director, Urbana's Market at the Square City of Urbana

Host: Craig Cohen

We can get our food from most anywhere – restaurants and grocery stores abound in most communities across the country. Even if you live in a small town, many food options are just a short drive away. But much of what we bring home from the grocery store – and much of what many restaurants (especially the fast food variety) serve is processed, pre-packaged, and probably not all that fresh.

And then there are farmer’s markets. Growers, producers and artisans bring fresh food from their local communities to such markets every week. And some consumers absolutely swear by various seasonal markets and farmstands.

Is the food really all that different? What controls are in place to ensure quality and freshness in farmer’s markets? How do you know you’re really getting the higher quality you pay for? And just what are the advantages for you, your family, and your community in seeing that such farmer’s markets succeed?

We’ll discuss the potential benefits of vibrant farmer’s markets for a community, and seek out your experiences shopping at them – or perhaps bringing your own fare to market, as we talk with Janine MacLachlan, a food writer, blogger and founder of The Rustic Kitchen Cooking School.  She’s the author of Farmers’ Markets of the Heartland. We’ll also be joined by Lisa Bralts, Economic Development Specialist Director for Urbana’s Market at the Square for the City of Urbana. She and Market at the Square are featured prominently in MacLachlan’s book.

This is a repeat broadcast from Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 10 am


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July 31, 2012

The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change

Most of Africa’s farmers are so poor they can’t grow enough to feed their families year round. In January of 2011 a group of Kenyan farmers decided to take a chance--joining the One Acre Fund, a social enterprise set up to help some of Africa’s most neglected people. The hope was that they could feed their families for the year, and have a bit left over to sell.  Roger Thurow brings us the story of a farm community on the brink of change, the subject of his book "The Last Hunger Season."

This is a repeat broadcast from Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 11 am


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July 19, 2012

Finding Food in Farm Country

Dave Bishop, farmer, PrairiErth Farm

Terra Brockman, founder and executive director of the Land Connection, steering committee member of The Edible Economy Project

Kenneth Meter, MPA, President, Crossroads Resource Center (by phone)

Host: Kimberlie Kranich

Approximately 95% of the food we eat in Illinois, comes from someplace else.  The farmland in Illinois is some of the richest in the nation and the state’s economy is one of the worst. A growing number of people in central Illinois are working together to build clusters of regional food businesses to aid economic recovery and increase residents’ access to fresh food.  We’ll explore the idea of “local” foods as a strategy for economic recovery in Illinois and the nation and dig into specific efforts in central Illinois.


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July 18, 2012

Farmers Markets

Janine MacLachlan, Food Writer, Blogger, and Founder of The Rustic Kitchen Cooking School

Lisa Bralts, Economic Development Specialist Director, Urbana's Market at the Square City of Urbana

Host: Craig Cohen

We can get our food from most anywhere – restaurants and grocery stores abound in most communities across the country. Even if you live in a small town, many food options are just a short drive away. But much of what we bring home from the grocery store – and much of what many restaurants (especially the fast food variety) serve is processed, pre-packaged, and probably not all that fresh.

And then there are farmer’s markets. Growers, producers and artisans bring fresh food from their local communities to such markets every week. And some consumers absolutely swear by various seasonal markets and farmstands.

Is the food really all that different? What controls are in place to ensure quality and freshness in farmer’s markets? How do you know you’re really getting the higher quality you pay for? And just what are the advantages for you, your family, and your community in seeing that such farmer’s markets succeed?

We’ll discuss the potential benefits of vibrant farmer’s markets for a community, and seek out your experiences shopping at them – or perhaps bringing your own fare to market, as we talk with Janine MacLachlan, a food writer, blogger and founder of The Rustic Kitchen Cooking School.  She’s the author of Farmers’ Markets of the Heartland. We’ll also be joined by Lisa Bralts, Economic Development Specialist Director for Urbana’s Market at the Square for the City of Urbana. She and Market at the Square are featured prominently in MacLachlan’s book.


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July 17, 2012

A Family Farm: Life on an Illinois Dairy Farm

Robert L. Switzer, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, University of Illinois

Host: David Inge

Over the past hundred years the United States lost two-thirds of its family-operated farms. We’ll bring you the story of one such farm as we talk with Robert Switzer, author of "A Family Farm." The book tells the story of life on a Northern Illinois dairy farm beginning in 1916, the time of the author’s grandparents. The story ends when the farm is sold in 1991. The author says millions of these stories, often sad ones, could be told, but they are rapidly being lost.

This is a repeat broadcast from Monday, May 07, 2012, 10 am


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May 31, 2012

Insect Pests

If insects are causing problems at your house, we may be able to help.  Our guest will be Phil Nixon, extension entomologist at the University of Illinois. He’s been with us many times before to take questions on a wide range of pests, everything from ants and roaches to silverfish and centipedes: the common pests that cause problems in our homes and gardens. Sometimes the key is just trying to get along, but if it’s a bug you just can’t live with, Phil can tell you how to make it go away.


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