On East Main Street in West Plains, Mo., a stone’s throw away from the quaint town square, Meadowbrook Natural Foods sits sandwiched between an insurance agency and a title company. When you step inside, the aroma of spices, herbs, and vitamins hits you.
This store is owned and run by Joe and Adele Voss, who met later in life as random partners at a square dancing lesson.
“We’ve got baking items and snack items and pastas and grains and flours and cereals and nuts and dried fruits and beans and spices and herbs...” says Adele Voss.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest “Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade,” which was published on Nov. 29, forecasts American farm exports increasing and predicts they will come in at $145 billion in 2013. That's a 50 percent increase from 2009.
Such a high export number gave me pause, since the USDA is also predicting that in the coming year U.S. corn exports will be at a 40-year low because of a domestic corn shortfall caused by the drought.
Monica Smith is consumed with school, work and so many extra curricular activities she can't keep count. People find it surprising that at 18, Monica keeps straight A's, works and participates in sports… when they find out what she has gone through. Monica's parents have been in and out of jail since she was 8 years old. She currently lives with her grandparents in Higginsville, Missouri.
Producers Greg Kendall-Ball and Alexandra Olgin bring us Monica’s story, as part of KBIA and the Columbia Missourian’s My Life My Town project.