• Holly Spangler

    The Friday Five: Consumer Edition

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 30, 2014

    Two weeks ago, the Illinois Farm Families took its new class of Chicago Field Moms to the farm and since that time, the women have been writing and reflecting on what they saw, heard and learned that day. I'm including a couple of their posts here, and I'm certain you'll find their observations enlightening, too. Plus, a little more of the GMO conversation from the week. In all, five links to catch you up on the conversation in food and agriculture this week. The Bees Knees: My…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Confessions of a Farm Wife, Vol. 9

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 29, 2014

    We've taken a bit of a hiatus from podcasting, because here's the thing: everybody's been busy planting corn. And you should see what it's like to coordinate our three schedules, plus the additional schedules of our (combined) seven little people, plus our three husbands.  But I digress, already. We got together this week, we let the kids play (Emily's are out of school and mine just had Monday off). We even promised them swimming, which we did for 10 whole minutes…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Friday Five: GMO Labeling Edition

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 23, 2014

    Hey, guess what I'm writing about these days?! Three guesses, and the first two don't count. But here are five great reads on the GMO labeling debate. The Price of Your Right to Know: This piece from Slate.com, by .a Texas State University professor and food author, takes a look at the real cost of labeling GM foods. In the end, he believes a federal label would be useful and that costs will hinge on how the public reacts to that label. He analyzes arguments from both sides, and he…

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  • Holly Spangler

    20 Years and 10 Things: Lessons for Graduates

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 22, 2014

    Twenty years ago, I graduated from Edwards County High School. My four best girlfriends and I all decorated our graduation caps with matching glitter-fied slogans, we threw confetti, we walked across the stage, out the door and on to bigger and better things. Twenty years ago. For real. Time is this strange thing. It ticks by so silently that actual years disappear in a fuzzy cloud of deadlines and papers and late nights, of diapers and toddlers and sleepless nights, of crops and droughts and…

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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

    The Friday Five: Agriculture Everywhere Edition

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 16, 2014

    Here are five links to catch you up on the week in food and agriculture… Politico Morning Agriculture: This is actually a daily e-newsletter you can sign up for. I did recently, and I enjoy it. A daily dose of agriculture and policy, straight from D.C. I know it doesn't sound riveting but there are good tidbits throughout. Midwest Central Students Get Hands-On Farming Experience: A great piece from the Peoria Journal Star about taking kids to the farm and vice-versa. And we're…

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  • Holly Spangler

    No Fair for Macon County

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 15, 2014

    The headlines were stark in Decatur newspapers: after a nearly 160-year run, the Macon County Fair is bankrupt. During a hearing at the Illinois Department of Ag last week, the fair revealed they owe more than $300,000; $36,000 of that figure is unpaid exhibitor premiums. There will be no fair in 2014; instead, they'll hold a Macon County Fairgrounds Festival, with a carnival but no tie to 4-H or livestock exhibition. As someone who grew up at county fairs and spent a fair number of…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Time for Buggins

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 14, 2014

    I was photographing a farmer in southern Illinois this weekend and one thing became rapidly, apparently obvious: buffalo gnat season is upon us. And if they're bad down there, it's only a matter of time - or a matter of this cold snap breaking - before they arrive further north. Swarming your face, in your eyes, biting everywhere and making outdoor life miserable for about 6 to 10 weeks. Blergh.  I once took lunch to John in the field, where he proceeded to squint at me and ask…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Friday Five: Planting Edition

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 9, 2014

    Planters have been rolling hard and fast across much of the Midwest. Not everywhere, as my friends in southern Illinois will testify. But the days have been long and the nights short here at the Spangler ranch this week, as we finished corn and are pressing on into beans. The upside to three feet of frost in the ground this winter: my husband reports fields have never worked so well! At least there's that. And with that, here are five(ish) links to catch you up on the week in food and…

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  • Holly Spangler

    HSUS: In Your Church?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 7, 2014

    It came to my attention recently that a Methodist church conference in Illinois is considering a legislative item that calls for, among other things, the humane treatment of farm animals. Included in the language: "Whereas, scripture tells us that God gave humanity dominion over all the earth's animals, a humbling and modest responsibility of guardianship; and Whereas, farm animals raised for meat consumption feel pain and have means of communicating with each other; and whereas…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Farmland Not For Farmers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 5, 2014

    You may have heard about a little movie called Farmland. You may have even seen it already. But make no mistake: while the movie is about farmers and it's incredibly beautiful and flattering and completely contradicts Food, Inc. and its ilk, Farmland is not for farmers. I know. But it's true. USFRA produced the movie (which means they provided the funding for it) and hired Academy Award winning director James Moll. Reportedly, Moll plucked six farmers out of relative obscurity and…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Friday Five: Breaking Ground Edition

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 2, 2014

    An interesting trend emerged this week as I rounded up the best links in food and agriculture: people are talking to each other, about topics we care about. Activists and scientists, personalities and number crunchers, bloggers and grocery stores, Oz and people who call him out. It's a fascinating mix, and well worth the reads. No Herbicides and Pesticides: No Problem: So what would be gained if pesticides and herbicides were to vanish from the United States, asks this Truth About Trade…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Let's Eat Beef!

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 1, 2014

    Inexplicably, today is May 1. I know not where April went, or March, for that matter. But my sources tell me May is Beef Month, and that is worth celebrating. Perhaps because May kicks off the summer grilling season, Beef Month seems particularly appropriate right now. We do our share of grilling, too, but I also tried this new beef roast recipe the other night. My son has declared it a winner. I love that it's still your classic beef, potatoes and carrots that my family likes, but with a…

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