Food & Food Culture

Ann Marie Awad / KUNC

El-Mekki Idris brought a tray to our table with two fragrant dishes on it. “This is koushouri, and the other one is fool sandwich,” he explains.

Koushouri is a popular rice, pasta and lentil dish from North Africa. It’s topped with tomato sauce and fried onions. Fool, another popular regional dish, consists of mashed fava beans and spices. At Sudan Cafe, Idris serves it as a sandwich on a soft, home-baked roll.

Courtesy of Boulder Blind Cafe

In 2007, Boulder singer-songwriter Brian Rocheleau -- better known as Rosh -- was on tour when he happened upon a unique cafe in Iceland.

After ordering a coffee outside, he was handed a braille-printed card and a cane before being ushered into a pitch black room.

“It was really loud and eventually I bumped into a table and I asked the people sitting there if there was an empty chair available,” Rosh said. “They all said, ‘We don’t know!’”

It was the first time Rosh had to find his way in the dark, but it would be far from the last.

In Bid To Cut Food Waste, Expiration Labels Get An Update

Feb 16, 2017
File: Brian Seifferlein/Harvest Public Media

It’s a classic conundrum that comes up every time you’re cleaning out the fridge: the package label says the food is past its prime, but it’s not moldy or smelly.

Do you give it a chance or toss it in the trash?

For a great number of consumers it’s the latter, but now some of the largest food retail trade groups are hoping to settle the score and clear up the confusion in hopes of keeping more food in bellies, rather than sending heaps of food to landfills.

Courtesy Okanagan Specialty Fruits

Genetically engineered crops are nothing new. But new technology that allows scientists to alter plants more precisely and more cheaply is taking genetically engineered plants from the field to the kitchen.

The first version of the Arctic Apple, a genetically modified Golden Delicious, is headed for test markets in the Midwest in February, according to the company that produced it. It is the first genetically engineered apple, altered so that when it is cut, it doesn’t turn brown from oxidation.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

A war is brewing over what you pour on your breakfast cereal.

Dairy farmers say the makers of plant-based milks – like almond milk, soy milk and a long list of other varieties – are stealing away their customers and deceiving consumers. And they’d like the federal government to back them up.

At its heart, the fight boils down to the definition and use of one simple word: milk.

Why We're Growing The Most Sweet Potatoes Since WWII

Jan 25, 2017
USDA / Flickr

Sweet potatoes are undergoing a modern renaissance in this country.

While they have always made special appearances on many American tables around the holidays, year-round demand for the root vegetables has grown. In 2015, farmers produced more sweet potatoes than in any year since World War II.

Pat Blank / Harvest Public Media

There is a battle going on in the organic industry over hydroponics, the technique of growing plants without soil. The debate gets at the very heart of what it means to be “organic” and may change the organic food available to grocery store shoppers.

To be labeled as organic, fruits and vegetables are required to be grown without genetic modification or synthetic chemicals, and to meet other rules set out by the Agriculture Department. But what about produce that isn’t grown in the dirt?  

Luke Runyon / KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Americans waste a staggering amount of food. Instead of letting it rot and wreck the environment, some entrepreneurs want to put it to work feeding insects, and see the potential to revolutionize how we feed some of the livestock that provide us our meat.

Phil Taylor’s enthusiasm for insects is infectious. The University of Colorado Boulder research ecologist beams as he weaves through a small greenhouse in rural Boulder County, Colorado. A room about the size of a shipping container sits inside.

It's a breeding chamber, Taylor says. “I hesitate to say it, but it’s called ‘the brothel.’”

These Colorado Veterans Are Finding Peace On The Farm

Nov 11, 2016
Luke Runyon / KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Ben and Leticia Ward’s farm in Fountain, Colorado, just outside Colorado Springs, doesn’t look like an army base. But it’s not hard to uncover whiffs of military influence at Little Roman Farm.

A stack of sturdy fiberglass bins next to a greenhouse seem benign, ready to be put to use as brooding bins for chickens or an aquaponics system to grow veggies and fish at the same time. The bins once housed Joint Direct Attack Munition, or part of a system that controls “smart bombs.”

Soda Taxes: Coming Soon To A City Near You?

Oct 25, 2016
Luke Runyon / KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Taxes on sugary drinks, the current cause célèbre in public health circles, are enjoying a moment in the spotlight this voting season. At least four cities, including Boulder, Colorado, will vote on whether to enact the tax this election cycle, giving public health advocates hope that they’ll soon be headed to a ballot near you.

The votes this year are high-stakes for proponents and opponents alike. Proponents say taxing sugary drinks like soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, lemonade, sweetened teas and coffees, can reverse high rates of obesity and diabetes. If the ballot measures prove successful it could mark a turning point in public perception of soda taxes, which have already failed dozens of times across the country, only to find recent successes in Berkeley, California, and in Philadelphia.