Peter Gray

Reporter, Harvest Public Media

Peter Gray, Harvest Public Media’s reporter at WUIS in Springfield, Ill., comes to the team with a diverse background in public, independent and commercial media production.  Beginning in 2011, Peter served as reporter and Morning Edition host for WUIS.  Prior to his start in public radio, he covered the Illinois legislature for NBC affiliate WANDTV-17 and helped launch Phenom Features, a non-profit apprenticeship film studio.  Peter hails from Oswego, Ill., where he grew up watching WTTW-11/PBS.

Agriculture
5:30 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Vertical farming: towering vision, uncertain future

Large banks of fluorescent lamps provide the spectrum of light that keeps the floating beds of plants alive year-round in The Plant Chicago, a vertical farming facility.
Credit Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

Farmers are making inroads supplying local food to hungry city foodies, but many producers are trying to grow more food inurban centers. City real estate is at a premium, so some producers are finding more space by using what’s called “vertical farming,” and going up rather than spreading out.

Growers across the country are heading indoors, using greenhouses and hydroponics – growing plants in a water and nutrient solution instead of soil and using lamps to replace sunlight. Vertical farming takes that to a new level.

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Science and Technology
5:29 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Drones: Coming soon to a farm near you?

Agriculture consultant Chad Colby shows a room of Midwest farmers how GPS can control a high-definition camera attached to a UAV.
Credit Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

 

Unmanned aerial vehicles aren’t just for spies or for the battlefield. Farmers all over the country think drones can give them a leg up, too.

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Agriculture
5:30 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Spike in propane price worries Midwest farmers

The barn at Borgic Farms in Nokomis, Ill., where piglets are weaned must be kept warm year-round. In the winter, that means using a bank of propane-fueled heaters.
Credit Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

 

    

Residents across the Midwest are struggling with tight propane supplies, especially in this bitterly cold, snowy winter. But it’s not just homes in rural counties that are lacking adequate heating fuel. Farms that put bacon and eggs on your breakfast plate are also feeling the supply pinch. 

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Sellers squeezed by high price of popcorn

Kemper Wilcutt II, who runs the Del’s in Decatur, has watched the price of kernels skyrocket.
Peter Gray/Harvest Public Media

U.S. popcorn sellers took a big hit from the 2012 drought, which caused one of the worst popcorn harvests in recent memory. Crops not irrigated were decimated and low supplies continue to force local candy shops and giant movie theater chains alike to pay high prices for the golden grain, biting into their profit margin.

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Agriculture
3:11 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Rural areas worry about food stamp cuts

The town of Sandoval, Ill., was born along U.S. Route 51, which runs north-south from Kentucky to the state of Wisconsin. Once a booming corridor, this area in southern Illinois now sees extreme poverty.
Credit Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

Listen to Peter Gray's story here.

The next farm bill is all but certain to contain cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Midwest farmers put the pumpkin in your Thanksgiving pie

Food giant Nestle owns the Libby’s Pumpkin label. Located in Morton, Ill., it’s the biggest reason why locals call Morton the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.”
Credit Peter Gray/Harvest Public Media

This Thanksgiving, hungry families all over the country will finish off their holiday meal with a little slice of the Midwest. That’s because the vast majority of all pumpkin that comes from a can and winds up in a pie got its start on a vine in Illinois.

Pumpkin patches are popular destinations for families seeking fall fun, and you’ll find roadside farm stands all over the country. But this is big business in Illinois, where farmers feed canning factories hungry for special kind of pumpkin that looks nothing like those you see on Halloween.

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