Field Notes

Fridays during All Things Considered; Mondays during Morning Edition

Field Notes is an opportunity for the Harvest Public Media team to dig even deeper into our coverage of food production through additional interviews, on-site reporting and audience feedback.  Each segment is produced and hosted by Abbie Fentress Swanson, at KBIA News in Columbia, MO.

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Photo by Boris Mann (bmann) /

A free-range chicken isn’t a free-agent. It may only spend a portion of its day in the great outdoors. The rest of the time? Anywhere but a cage. Though, that information is not something you'll find spelled out for you on a package of chicken breast. On this week's Field Notes: really listening to what food labels say, or don't say.

Missouri is home to almost 400 vineyards that employ thousands of agricultural workers who pick, crush and nurture grapes like the Norton, the official state grape. Around $60 million worth of Missouri wine is sold each year. Today on Field Notes, we ask an expert to taste a little of that wine.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

Think of the most natural, pristine place you've ever visited. You might envision a national forest or state park. These locales provide a landscape of solace, peace and quiet. We relate to these getaways as pure, real nature that's managed to stay untouched through centuries of human intervention. Now imagine your favorite hiking path or placid lake as a construction of wildlife: an outdoors reality based on someone else's idea of an anti-urban, off-the-beaten-path wilderness. On this episode of Field Notes, we explore nature conservation with environmental journalist Emma Marris.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

The second warmest summer on record is coming to a close, but states like Texas and Kansas are still gripped by high temperatures and extremely low rainfall. Now, the drought has spread north to southwestern Missouri where farmers in the parched Ozark foothills haven't seen real moisture since May.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

When it comes to selling produce, farmers have a few options. There are grocery stores, then there are farmers markets. In Kansas City, mobile markets are even cropping up. Check out that story, here. Now, we bring you barebones farmers on wheels. Road bikes are the preferred form of travel and mode of commerce for the operators of Quail Bone Farm in Columbia, Mo.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

Farm Aid’s “Homegrown Village” is a sort of cheesy title for something that’s really simple, and from what I saw and heard, rare.