Current Event December 9, 2020
The number of Americans who do not have enough food has increased dramatically during the pandemic. To address this problem of food insecurity, groups across the country are putting refrigerators filled with free food in public places and inviting people to take what they need. The “freedges” are feeding thousands of people, many of whom had never visited a food bank. Listen to hear more about a grassroots effort to feed hungry Americans, and learn why one activist worries about the sustainability of the movement.
A biologist was curious to know what he could learn about the bacteria living inside of us, so he decided to collect his poop every day for a year. The focus of his study was the microbiome, or collection of microorganisms, found in our bodies. An experiment he thought would be simple turned out to be quite complex. Listen to learn about the challenges the scientist faced and what his study revealed about the human microbiome.
Across the globe, people consume many different types of foods, but some food choices are better for the environment than others. This audio story introduces cricket protein, a different food source than many of us are used to eating and a more sustainable option than animal proteins such as beef or lamb. Listen to learn more about cricket protein and why it is a good protein choice for the planet.
Current Event September 11, 2019
When a vacant lot in Sacramento was up for sale, one neighbor had an idea for what it could become. She envisioned an urban farm, so she bought the lot and invited a local nonprofit group to help turn it into an “edible art garden” after gathering input from other community members. Listen to learn what this once bare lot looks like today and how it benefits the neighborhood surrounding it.
Current Event July 17, 2019
Would you eat a scarred, lumpy carrot or an apple that is oddly shaped? Grocery stores do not typically sell these types of “ugly” produce, but some new companies aim to reduce food waste by selling fruits and vegetables that are rejected by stores. Listen to learn about the benefits of these efforts and find out what else you can do to reduce food waste.
Current Event January 23, 2019
Photosynthesis is the process that is foundationational for all life, in which plants use sunlight to change water and carbon dioxide into food and oxygen. Scientists have now genetically modified plants to perform that process more efficiently, thereby increasing agricultural productivity. Listen to this story to learn how researchers “hacked photosynthesis” and why it matters.
Current Event October 30, 2018
What you eat after working out can make a difference in how your body recovers. Consuming the right types of snacks after exercising can help to replenish your energy, build muscle mass, and burn fat. Listen to this interview with a dietician to learn more about what to eat after exercise and why. Spoiler alert: chocolate milk is a good choice!
Current Event May 23, 2018
The United States government recently passed a law that requires all major restaurant chains to post the calories of their dishes on their menus. Studies have demonstrated that having this information about their food causes diners to cut back on the number of calories they consume. This can help them lose weight and avoid the dangers of obesity, especially since some foods have more calories than you might think. Listen to learn more about this law and its benefits from two experts on nutritional policy.
Many schools now have gardens where students grow and harvest food that they cook themselves in class. The “Let's Move Initiative,” a program created by former First Lady Michelle Obama in 2010, has generated awareness about school gardens and teaching cooking skills that enable students to learn about healthy lifestyle habits in an effort to fight the national obesity epidemic. Listen to learn more about how a gardening and cooking project at a school in Maine is a rewarding way to learn about nutrition and healthy lifestyle skills through hands-on class activities.
Current Event December 2, 2016
The United Nations set an ambitious goal of ending extreme poverty and fighting disease by 2030. But a lot of governments and international organizations and researchers still aren't collecting basic statistics. For example, currently over 150 million kids in poor countries have stunted growth, largely due to malnutrition, but there isn’t data about which nutrients available in these countries are most needed to prevent malnutrition. The data gap is especially noticeable when it comes to statistics on girls and women. This makes it hard to prioritize health spending. Listen to this story and debate what can be done to improve data on poverty.
Current Event August 16, 2015
The search for food that is low cost, tasty and slow-to-spoil has been an ongoing goal of the military, especially during World War II. That’s why military science has influenced the food in school lunches, as well as other convenient foods such as granola bars and juice boxes. Military research and ingredients are found in many foods, including the McDonald’s McRib Sandwich. A new book encourages people to think more about where convenient, non-perishable food comes from and whether this food science should be used so commonly outside the military.
Current Event June 16, 2015
We all know that a panda’s primary food source is bamboo. But a new study about giant pandas has found that their digestive system is built to support a carnivorous diet, not their vegetarian one. Listen to learn more about what and how pandas eat and how this is part of a panda paradox.
The apples we are used to seeing in the supermarket are the same basic size and shape and they have familiar flavor profiles. But there are more apple varieties than you might imagine. There's a whole world of biodiversity in apples, but these apples don’t make it to the supermarket. Listen to learn more about America’s history with apples and the apple Renaissance taking place today!
Food gives our body the energy needed to function and thrive. But what is energy? Where can you find it and how can you calculate it? This public radio story explores the energy in a cheese curl by burning it. Listen to learn about a great lab that allows you to calculate the energy in food.
The book "Into the Wild" chronicled the journey of twenty-four year old Christopher McCandless who died in April of 1992 after attempting to survive alone and virtually unaided on a remote Alaskan hiking trail. While McCandless’ official cause of death has been recorded as starvation, author Jon Krakauer has evidence suggesting otherwise. Krakauer, who wrote "Into the Wild," has conducted extensive research on McCandless’ death even after he first published the book chronicling McCandless’ experiences. His findings have led him to believe that McCandless’ death may have been caused by the ingestion of a poisonous potato seed that is only deadly if you are malnourished. Listen to hear what evidence led Krakauer to this conclusion.
Current Event January 2, 2015
What you eat doesn’t just impact you; it impacts the environment. This is the argument that some nutritionists are presenting to U.S. Congressional Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee. They suggest Congress should consider the agricultural practices and the environmental impact of some foods when issuing nutrition guidelines. But that suggestion has not been well received by Congress. Listen to learn more about this effort to marry nutrition and environmentalism and the congressional backlash it has provoked.
Current Event November 18, 2014
Walnuts, pecans, peanuts and cashews are all nuts you typically see in the store and are healthy to eat. But what about acorns? Acorns, the tough nuts that fall from Oak trees are beloved by squirrels but rarely make it to the dinner table. In this public radio story we hear from a wild food advocate who is teaching people to eat acorns. We also hear about the history of eating acorns and the role of acorns in traditional Native American food.
People lose weight when sleeping, and much of that weight loss comes from merely breathing. Through a process of matter being recycled along with sweating while sleeping, people lose weight. However, the atoms and molecules involved are so small that it is hard to believe they are so powerful in this process. Listen to learn how this cycle works.
Fungi play a crucial role in decomposition. As they follow this process, fungi release nutrients that the trees around it absorb. Eventually, the fungi attach itself to the roots of the nature around them and begin the cycle of giving and getting to keep the environment in balance. Listen to learn how fungi first colonized land and what would happen if fungi were not able to spread.
Current Event April 2, 2014
The same compound found in Subway sandwich breads and other commercial breads is also found in yoga mats. Research shows that the amount of this food additive is not toxic to one’s health, but it all comes down to how comfortable you are eating this ingredient.