Health+Harvest

NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board identified the subject of food and health as important subjects for coverage in 2012. Health+Harvest provides for community engagement on health and food issues along with reporting on farm, field and fuel.  From seed to plate, from farmer's markets to GMOs, central Illinoisans need to know how to stay healthy and what they are eating.  In 2013, NPR Illinois joined a consortium of public media in the Harvest Public Media network.  The network provides broader coverage to Midwest food issues.

By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Health+Harvest fills a critical information void.

Support for Health+Harvest coverage comes from Central Illinois Farm Bureaus and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If you'd like to support this initiative, please contact Nice Bogdanovich at 217-206-9847.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Samantha Hull had less than 30 minutes to pack up her life.

As powerful winds drove the Tick Fire through acres of dry brush hills encircling Hull's family's farm in Canyon Country, a community within the Los Angeles County city of Santa Clarita, Hull was thinking about how she could get her animals to safety.

Forty-two boxes of returned mail lined a wall of the El Paso County Department of Human Services office on a recent fall morning. There used to be three times as many.

Every week, the U.S. Postal Service brings anywhere from four to 15 trays to that office in Colorado Springs. Each contains more than 250 letters that it could not deliver to county residents enrolled in Medicaid or other public assistance programs.

Sean Brock is Still Learning About Southern Food

Nov 1, 2019

We spend an hour with one of the great champions of Southern foodways, award-winning chef Sean Brock. Raised in rural Virginia, Sean has spent 20 years highlighting the unique culinary characteristics of the South. He is author of the best selling book, Heritage, and the newly published, South.

Copyright 2019 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Tens of thousands of people are still under mandatory evacuation in Northern California. Some have endured wildfires, smoke, floods, blackouts and evacuations many times before. Even though the state's population is predicted to top 40 million this year, some wonder whether California is the dream they had hoped for.

The brain waves generated during deep sleep appear to trigger a cleaning system in the brain that protects it against Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Electrical signals known as slow waves appear just before a pulse of fluid washes through the brain, presumably removing toxins associated with Alzheimer's, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Science.

This year saw the largest outbreak of measles in the U.S. since 1994, with 1,250 cases reported as of Oct. 3, largely driven by families choosing not to vaccinate their kids. Worldwide, the disease has resurfaced in areas that had been declared measles-free.

Natalie Eve Garrett isn't sure exactly which shelf at a bookstore her new book would belong on. She says it "probably wouldn't be at home among cookbooks," although it does contain recipes. Maybe memoir? Self-help? Literary essays?

Jasper Davis stoops to tilt a plastic bottle under a drip of water that's trickling from a crack in the mountainside.

"Tastes better than what the city water does," he says. "Way better."

The spring is innocuous, a mere dribble emerging from a cliff face that was cut out to make room for a four-lane highway. But there's evidence of frequent visitors. A small footbridge has been placed over the muddy ground, and some enterprising soul shoved a rubber tube into the mountain to make filling jugs easier.

Arline Feilen lost her husband to suicide in 2013. Three years later, she lost her dad to cancer. And this February, she lost her 89-year-old mom to a cascade of health problems.

"We were like glue, and that first Mother's Day without her was killer. It just dragged me down," said Feilen, who is 56 and lives in suburban Chicago. "It was just loss after loss after loss, and I just crumbled."

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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In 1998, major tobacco companies reached a historic legal settlement with states that had sued them over the health care costs of smoking-related illnesses. But individual smokers have continued to sue, and to this day the tobacco industry remains tied up in hundreds of court fights with sickened smokers, or with family members who lost a loved one to cancer, heart disease, or other smoking-related illness.

Foods go in and out of style. Few of them, though, have gone through as dramatic a renaissance in their reputation as Brussels sprouts.

For many years, they were scorned. Even Steve Bontadelli admits it, and he makes his living growing them. "A lot of people of my generation hated them," he says. "Their moms boiled them and made them even stinkier."

Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET

California officials report progress in their battle against wildfires, even as new dangers arise from powerful winds.

"Over the past week, more than 300 blazes have broken out in California," member station KQED reported, "but so far, there have been no fatalities linked to the Northern California fires."

Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg has turned down a major environmental prize.

"It is a huge honor," Thunberg said of the Nordic Council Environment Prize. "But the climate movement does not need any more awards."

"What we need is for our politicians and the people in power to start listening to the current, best available science," she added.

The award Thunberg rejected came with prize money of 350,000 Danish kroner — about $52,000.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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In Southern California, a rare extreme red flag warning is in effect. High winds make wildfires more dangerous. NPR's Kirk Siegler reports that scientists are linking wind conditions to climate change.

At first, 19-year-old Sarah Hornak ignored the tingling in her hands and feet. She also ignored the 20 pounds of weight she shed, the constant hunger and thirst, the time she threw up after a tough workout. She went to her doctor only when she began to see halos everywhere. A pinprick on her finger revealed that her blood sugar was in the 400s — about four times as high as a healthy person's should be. She checked into the hospital and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes within days.

Farm laborers in yellow safety vests walked through neatly arranged rows of grapes in a vineyard outside Healdsburg, Calif., Friday, harvesting the last of the deep purple bundles that hung from the vines, even as the sky behind them was dark with soot.

High winds are in the forecast this week for all of California as fires burn up and down the Golden State. Near the Bay Area, the Kincade Fire has charred over 100 square miles, destroyed more than 120 structures and forced thousands to evacuate in the state's famed wine country. To the south, firefighters in Los Angeles are battling a number of blazes, including the Getty Fire in the hills near UCLA. Helping teams on the ground as they fight the flames is an arsenal of air support. The fires have prompted authorities to call in some of the biggest firefighting planes in operation.

Ever since childhood, author Kevin Wilson has lived with disturbing images that flash through his mind without warning.

"I've always had this kind of agitation and looping thoughts and small tics," he says. "Falling off of tall buildings, getting stabbed, catching on fire — they were these just quick, kind of violent bursts in my head."

Not that Wilson would ever harm anyone else — the harm in these quick, intrusive thoughts was strictly internal. The images fed off of his own anxiety, and left him feeling terrified.

Updated at 1:50 a.m. ET on Wednesday

Firefighters knew their respite would not last in Northern California.

The bowhead whale hunt is an essential cultural and subsistence tradition for the Inupiat of Alaska's North Slope. It dates back at least 1,500 years, and annual harvests can supply families with hundreds of pounds of meat.

"It is the way of our life, and it's why we are who we are," said Deano Olemaun, a top official at the North Slope Borough.

Everything old is new again. As open enrollment gets underway for next year's job-based health insurance coverage, some employees are seeing traditional plans offered alongside or instead of the plans with sky-high deductibles that may have been their only choice in the past.

Some employers say that in a tight labor market, offering a more generous plan with a deductible that's less than four figures can be an attractive recruitment tool. Plus, a more traditional plan may appeal to workers who want more predictable out-of-pocket costs, even if the premium is a bit higher.

Orange, black — and now teal? Yes, teal. There are teal plastic pumpkins, paint-your-own pumpkin kits, and trick-or-treating buckets. It's all part of a campaign to make the culmination of Halloween festivities, trick-or-treating, more food-allergy friendly.

Having a teal pumpkin on the doorstep (teal being the color of food allergy awareness) is a way to signal to people with food allergies that this is a safe home for trick-or-treating, says Jennifer Norris, president of the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET), which started the project.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Q breaks into song, and the lyrics reflect something of himself: "My heart aches, my heart aches and my heart aches," he croons. The 10-year-old hopes to go professional one day, but his mother says that first, he has to break his addiction to heroin.

Q began smoking his father's heroin in the summer, unnoticed by his parents, both addicts whose lives revolved around getting high and staying high. "I felt really happy. I felt free," he said. (Q is only referred to by his first initial because of his young age.)

November 2019 Giveaway

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