• Holly Spangler

    Home economics: in your school?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 8, 2015

    About a year ago, I wrote a blog asking, in essence, whatever happened to home economics? It led to some great email conversations, including some with the instructor of a set of college curricula on home economics education – though to be modern and correct, it's now known as Family and Consumer Sciences. One thing led to another and yesterday I got to Skype with one of her classes. We talked a lot about teaching the science behind food production, and what students need to know to…

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  • Holly Spangler

    When we think we know more than we know

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 2, 2015

    She approached slowly but confidently, new books in arm and tote over her shoulder. I smiled and said hello and tried to look approachable. It worked; she approached, but less with a question than a statement. "So, these GMOs that are getting sprayed on all our food, they're really killing the bees off," she said. I think I squinted and looked confused. She continued. "My husband is a beekeeper -  we're concerned about that. What GMOs are doing to the environment…

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  • Holly Spangler

    What Farmers Want From Consumers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 2, 2015

    I spent a lot of time on the road last week, driving and thinking. Thinking and driving. And I got to thinking how I feel so irritated sometimes at the accusations thrown at farmers. Either that we're (obviously) mistreating our animals or (obviously) polluting the environment or (obviously) poisoning everyone or (obviously) not smart enough to make good choices. It kinda wears me out sometimes. It's kinda made me step back from social media lately, where the cacophony of yelling…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Pssst: Organic Extremists Think You Don't Exist

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 18, 2014

    Occasionally, I'll have a conversation with someone that completely crystallizes what I've only suspected to be marginally true in the past. Where I listen and ask questions and think to myself: "I can't believe an actual person is saying this actual thing, out loud, to me, right now." Like this time. Or this one. The most recent example occurred a couple weeks ago, as I wrapped up interviews for a GMO labeling story that will appear in several Farm Progress magazines in…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Defending Agriculture on Chicago Streets

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 19, 2014

    Saturday morning dawned bright, clear and cool as we loaded onto a bus in a Chicago suburb with nearly two dozen Chicago moms. The moms were part of Illinois Farm Families Field Moms program, chosen for their interest in food production. They've been on a couple tours already, to a grocery store and to the Gould family hog farm. This tour, however, took us to Paul and Donna Jeschke's picture-perfect farm at Mazon, Ill. No kidding, the sky was blue and full of high, fluffy clouds, the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Hey, Remember Home Ec?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 25, 2014

    Last Friday, I sat through a USFRA Food Dialogues panel, where they were asking and answering the question, "Who is shaping America's nutrition choices?" They talked about media and commercials. They talked about food production, specifically land, water and energy. They talked about our crazy-busy lifestyle and processed foods. They talked about a knowledge gap in food production, and about dieticians. And I had a crazy thought: what about the fact that (a lot of) Americans…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Friday Five: Worth the Read

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 14, 2014

    It's been one of those weeks where I've seen a lot of good stuff float across the Internet. Granted, a lot was in response to bad stuff on the Internet, but alas, that is the way of agriculture these days. So if you have a few minutes to spare, these are worth the read. 1. Dr. Oz's GMO Global Conspiracy…Debunked:  Point-by-point, Katie Pratt offers up the facts that Dr. Oz (surprisingly missed during his show this week on "Stealth GMOs," designed to leave…

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  • Holly Spangler

    How Dairy Carrie Wrote a Viral Blog Post

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 27, 2013

    If you were anywhere near social media earlier this month, there's a good chance you saw a blog post by "Dairy Carrie" floating around. It was titled, "Sometimes we are mean to our cows," and it detailed all the reasons a bovine might go down, and what a farmer might have to do (and why) in order to help her back to her feet. Complete with photos. Along with about 300,000 other people who visited her blog to read about downed cows, I read it and thought it was so well…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things Farmers Need to Know about Consumers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 25, 2013

    1. Consumers are concerned about the long-term health effects of biotechnology and pesticides. They're looking at down-the-road diseases like cancer, heart disease, obesity, the "unknown." I sat and talked about some of those questions with a group of Chicago field moms during the Larson Farms tour earlier this fall. This is not based on any research and is completely anecdotal, but I shared with them that I really believe if pesticides and biotech were causing cancer we would see…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Misleading Food Labels

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 13, 2013

    1. "No high fructose corn syrup!" The question to ask here is whether the product had any high fructose corn syrup to start with. Because like any good marketing ploy, companies have been known to jump on the band wagon and declare their product free of something it never had to start with. Also, if you've been told HFCS is bad because of all the processing, consider this: sugar cubes do not grow on trees. It's all been processed, people. Incidentally, we may see less of this…

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