Kathey Lee, owner of jam company Modern Gingham, fills jars at her shared kitchen in Denver.
Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

The hardest part of starting a new food business should be in perfecting the secret recipe. For many entrepreneurial cooks though, the tough times come when searching for a space to legally make and sell their food.

Commercial kitchen space, with stainless steel counters, industrial appliances meeting food safety regulations and appropriately-sized sinks, can be hard to come by and expensive to build. One tech startup is trying to fix that, using the same sharing economy concepts as travel titans Uber and Airbnb.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

(Updated Friday to note House support)

The U.S. Senate late Thursday approved a bill that outlaws states’ efforts to put labels on food products made with genetically-modified organisms and instead gives companies more leeway in disclosing GMOs.

Alex Smith / KCUR

In recent years, the once-lowly food truck has entered the big leagues of cuisine.

Once peddlers of quick snacks like hot dogs and falafel, food trucks now sell items like crème brulee, roast duck and Spanish tapas.

Some Kansas City entrepreneurs think these trucks have the potential to do something else – tackle food inequity.

Standing outside a big, white trailer parked at the Guinotte Manor public housing complex northeast of downtown Kansas City, Megan Mulvihill invites curious neighbors to step inside.

Slaughterhouses remain one of the most dangerous workplaces in this country. Harvest Public Media, a reporting collaborative based at KCUR, has been investigating the hazards meat processing workers still face. The result is a three-part series airing this week, Dangerous Jobs, Cheap Meat.


Sarah Rose/Flickr-CC

Hostess Brands is recalling more than 700,000 cases of Ding Dongs and other products after tests revealed trace amounts of peanut.

The FDA warned consumers with severe peanut allergies to avoid the affected Hostess products, which includes varieties of the company’s doughnuts, Ding Dongs, Chocodiles and Zingers.

The Kansas City-based company sold the cakes to distributors and stores in the United States and Mexico. Two children have suffered allergic attacks after eating the snack foods.

Processed foods generally don't experience price spikes.
Kristi Koser / Harvest Public Media

At the grocery store, processed foods like cereal, crackers and candy usually maintain the same price for a long time, and inch up gradually. Economists call these prices “sticky” because they don’t move much even as some of the commodities that go into them do.

Take corn, for example, which can be a major food player as a grain, starch or sweetener.  

Corn prices can fluctuate widely, so why don’t products containing corn also see price changes? Why does your cereal pretty much cost $3 per box every week?

It’s partly thanks to the futures market.

Melissa Wiese / Creative Commons

Food giant General Mills is recalling millions of pounds of flour milled in Kansas City, Missouri, on suspicions that the product is contaminated by a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria.

Thirty-eight people in 20 states have been infected in the outbreak, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ten have been hospitalized.

Andy Marso / KHI News Service

Most school districts have moved to comply with stricter nutrition standards since the U.S. Department of Agriculture imposed them almost four years ago. 

But many still lack kitchen equipment necessary to make the healthier school breakfasts and lunches appealing.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Local food advocates say a bill approved by Kansas lawmakers that restricts the authority of cities, counties and school districts to regulate junk food no longer constitutes a threat to their efforts to expand access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

They were plenty concerned in March when the House passed House Bill 2595.

Today's school lunch includes healthier spins on old standards. This meal at a Nebraska high school includes a hamburger with no cheese on a whole wheat bun and a fresh salad, instead of french fries.
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Schools across the U.S. served more than 5 billion meals in the national school lunch program to millions of students last year. Each one of the meals has to meet federal rules for nutrition. Now, those rules are up for debate and Congress could impose changes on the cafeteria.

Feeding America

A new study of food insecurity finds some familiar patterns in Kansas. But there are also a few surprises.

Every year when the County Health Rankings are released, they show southeast Kansas and Wyandotte County as having persistent problems with lower average incomes and higher poverty levels. So it should come as no surprise that those same places have a high degree of food insecurity, which is defined as a lack of reliable access to adequate food.

For a century Jewish cuisine in America was the recipes that arrived with immigrants from Eastern Europe ... matzo balls, brisket, bagels and latkes. Now the influence of Mediterranean Jews is making its way to our shores.


  • Chef Joyce Goldstein is a food consultant and the author of The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home.
Hungry animals come right up to the feed being delivered at the Iowa State University Beef Nutrition Farm, where researchers can test different feed formulas.
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

On a cold windy morning, Kelly Nissen feeds the cows at the Iowa State University Beef Nutrition Farm north of Ames. Far from just tossing hay, he weighs out specific rations and carefully delivers them to numbered feed bunks.

“When you’re feeding, you’re always double-checking yourself to make sure it’s going in the right lot,” Nissen says.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

If you have seen the show "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" — or, in other words, if you have infant children — you probably know about "banana swirl." Or, you should, according to Rachel Ciordas.

"Mothers who listen [to this segment] are either going to love me or hate me for mentioning this," Ciordas laughs as she launches into the tale that introduced her family to this beloved dessert.

Is there anything Roy Blount, Jr. hasn't written about?  We speak with the author about his latest book, Save Room For Pie, sharing a stage with Bruce Springsteen, and some of his most notable celebrity interviews. 

Whether it's the debate over GMO labeling, or diseases affecting livestock and the changing business of agriculture, the reporters from Harvest Public Media, based at KCUR, are at the scene. We talk with them the state of the food system in the United States today.  


Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Food waste is an expensive problem. The average U.S. family puts upwards of $2,000 worth of food in the garbage every year.

What some see as a problem, however, others see as a business opportunity. A new facility, known as the Heartland Biogas Project, promises to take wasted food from Colorado’s Front Range and turn it into electricity.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

A Kansas City developer with experience around Beacon Hill is talking with the city about a project that could bring a grocery store to a community that has long sought easy access to healthy food options.

City Development Specialist Shawn Hughes said Thursday that UC-B Properties has submitted a concept for a mixed-use development on the northeast corner of 27th Street and Troost Avenue that might include a ground-floor grocery store.

Michel Martin is the host of NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered. Next week, she’ll come to the Gem Theater at 18th and Vine for a conversation about food and how we eat. 

Michelle Martin will host an evening of conversation on Tuesday, April 5 at the Gem Theater. For tickets and information visit

Thanksgiving Dinner
vxla / Creative Commons

The food on your kitchen table has a fascinating story.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Johnson County has created a panel to advise the county commission on food issues.

One of the Food Policy Council’s goals will be to increase county residents’ access to healthy foods, according to a news release from the county. But the council might also touch on other areas, such as economic development, agriculture and food waste.

The council’s first order of business will be to focus on “food deserts” – areas that lack ready access to affordable and nutritious food – in Olathe, Overland Park and Edgerton.

Pat Aylward / NET News

Every year Americans spend billions of dollars to grow, process and transport food that’s never eaten.

ReFED, a group of nonprofits and foundations, say they have a roadmap to keep that from happening. Their planfocuses on preventing food from ending up in the trash in the first place, and diverting it to a more beneficial use when it does get tossed out.

Paul Andrews /

The morning after his high school graduation, Jonathan Justus packed his car and moved to California. He didn't even wait a day, and he didn't leave with fantasies of coming back any time soon. 

When he was a kid, Justus felt suffocated by the sense that everyone in Smithville knew and kept an eye on everyone else. His mom received hate mail when she took over the family pharmacy, criticizing her for working outside the home rather than staying home with her kids. Rumors had started spreading about Justus starting when he was just in high school, he says.

Couresy of Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

It’s been almost a hundred years since Prohibition, which, ironically, were some of the booziest years in Kansas City history. And although local chef Tim Tuohy is a newcomer to the area, he’s already learning the history of that time.

Tuohy works for Tom’s Town, a new distillery in the Crossroads that makes small-batch gin, vodka and whiskey on site, and is named for the man who just might be the patron saint of KC drinkers. 

“You know, Kansas City had an extremely rich beer and alcohol culture that really flourished here as a result of … Tom Pendergast,” Tuohy says.

Buying in bulk and taking advantage of sales are great ways to save money on basic household goods, like toilet paper. But those savings are out of reach for many families who need them the most. We find out why poor people are paying more for toilet paper…and just about everything else.


Meat and potatoes are Kansas City’s heritage, according to KCUR’s food critic Charles Ferruzza.

“We are the city that had, at least in our region, the stockyards. So beef was really, really accessible and potatoes were really, really cheap,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

“It’s always been a great combination.”

Ferruzza, along with food critics Mary Bloch and Jenny Vergara, discussed the best meat and potato dishes in Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

A study released last month by Wichita State University found that Kansas'  sales tax pushes shoppers across state and county lines in order to save money on food. Kansas is one of only 14 states that includes groceries in the state sales tax.

USDA / Flickr creative commons

Food safety regulators are hoping new rules will reduce the number of Americans sickened by salmonella bacteria found on the chicken they eat. Currently, salmonella is estimated to cause about 1 million illnesses a year.

In this encore presentation, we explore KC's diverse Latin American food scene. A local chef shows us how to prepare cactus (and cooks his specialty dish, chicken with cactus, in the studio), then KCUR's Food Critics uncover the best Latin American dishes in and around Kansas City.


The Rising Energy Costs Of Convenience In The Kitchen

Jan 21, 2016
Leigh Paterson / For Harvest Public Media

To make or not to make a homemade pie?  That is a classic holiday dilemma. Do you take the easy way out and buy a fairly decent frozen pie, or do you risk making your own, resulting in a potentially burnt and lumpy version?

While there is something special about that homemade option, every cook knows that it takes a lot of your own time and energy.