Luke Runyon | KUNC

Luke Runyon

Reporter, Colorado River Basin

As KUNC’s reporter covering the Colorado River Basin, I dig into stories that show how water issues can both unite and divide communities throughout the Western U.S. I produce feature stories for KUNC and a network of public media stations in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Nevada. I also host KUNC’s live community storytelling events.

I love public radio because I know the power of hearing someone’s story in their own words, using their own voice. You can get a much better sense of who someone is and what their motivations are just by listening to how they speak, and that’s a big part of why I love public radio reporting.

Before covering water at KUNC I covered the agriculture and food beat for five years as the station’s Harvest Public Media reporter. I’ve also reported for Aspen Public Radio in Aspen, Colo. and Illinois Public Radio in Springfield, Ill. My reports have been featured on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Here & Now and APM's Marketplace. I’m a proud graduate of the University of Illinois’ Public Affairs Reporting program.

My work has been recognized by the Society of Environmental Journalists, Radio Television Digital News Association, the Colorado Broadcasters Association and the Public Media Journalists Association.

When I’m not at the station you can usually find me out exploring the Rocky Mountains with either a pack on my back or skis on my feet (sometimes both at the same time).

Martin Abegglen / Flickr/Creative Commons

Aspiring hemp growers are stuck in a tricky gray area these days. While voters in some states, like Colorado, have given the go-ahead to growing and processing the plant, a blanket ban still exists at the federal level.

Luke Runyon / KUNC

How does a new craft brewer stand apart from the pack? A few have hitched their brewery onto the local food bandwagon. Sourcing the ingredients that form beer’s DNA straight from the fields around them.

Cantaloupe roadside stand in Rocky Ford
Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

Drive into the small southeastern Colorado community of Rocky Ford and it’s clear the very character of the town is tied to cantaloupe.

Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

While spring snow storms have eased drought conditions in parts of Northern Colorado, in the southern part of the state the dry weather is forcing farmers to make some tough decisions.

Kabsik Park / Flickr/Creative Commons

In the past couple years, cantaloupe has wound up in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

karma-police / Flickr - Creative Commons

There’s more sugar in the United States right now than we know what to do with, a fact that’s concerning to both sugar growers and the processors that use sugar by the truckload, like candy companies and large-scale bakeries.


April snow storms have certainly helped parched Colorado. The real question is, how big of a dent will it be?

Granby Lake
Northern Water Conservancy District

Update 4/12/13: The Northern Water board decided Friday to provide water users with a 60 percent quota, about 10 percent less than is usually allotted. 

Kristin Mastre
Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

At a Fort Collins grocery store, Kristin Mastre paused for a minute in front a large bin of Russet and red potatoes. She picked out a few handfuls and continued on, her two boys, Carter, 4, and Logan, 7, in tow.

Centennial Farm
Sara Brooks / Greeley History

History Colorado, the state’s historical society, is on the hunt for farms that have been around for one hundred years or more.