Radio Pieces

Writer, radio reporter/producer by day…blogger by night. 

I generally cover food, nutrition, public health, emerging science and agriculture issues.

Below are a few examples of my radio pieces.

Antibiotic Use on the Farm

Eighty percent of antibiotics used in the U.S. are used on livestock to help prevent disease and make them grow large quickly. But some say this low dose, non-medical use of antibiotics in agriculture is causing bacteria to evolve to become resistant and putting human health at risk. As Living on Earth’s Jessica Ilyse Kurn reports, it’s now up to the courts to decide whether to limit the non-therapeutic use of drugs on animals.

Keeping up with the Green Gastronomic Joneses

The National Restaurant Association’s survey of “What’s Hot in 2012” placed local sourcing, sustainability and kitchen gardens all in the top ten. To stay current, culinary schools are starting to add courses in eco-conscious cooking to their curricula. Living on Earth’s Jessica Ilyse Kurn visited the Culinary Institute of America to find out how chefs-to-be are learning these new skills.

Menagerie on Ice

At the SVF Foundation farm in Newport, Rhode Island, scientists harvest embryos from rare and heritage breeds, and freeze them in liquid nitrogen to safeguard them for the future. Living on Earth’s Jessica Ilyse Smith visited the farm to find how and why scientists want to preserve these animals.

Fishy Labels For Seafood

Popular retailers like Target, Costco and Walmart have started to sell fish labeled as certified sustainable. But there’s disagreement on what these labels mean. In the first piece of our series Go Fish: Striving for Sustainability, Living on Earth’s Jessica Ilyse Kurn investigates what is sustainable fish.

SNAP to the Farmers’ Market

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides low-income Americans with assistance to buy food. The city of Boston is creating extra incentives to encourage healthy eating. LOE’s Jessica Ilyse Smith went to a farmers’ market to find out about the Boston Bounty Bucks program.

Truck Farm

Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, the filmmakers behind the documentary, “King Corn,” are at it again. This time they’ve planted rows of vegetables in the back of a Dodge pickup to show that food can be grown just about anywhere. Living on Earth’s Jessica Ilyse Smith took a spin in the truck in Brooklyn.

Judging Biotech Seeds

The first case involving genetically engineered crops is being argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. Monsanto is challenging a lower court’s decision to halt the sale of the agri-giant’s genetically engineered alfalfa seed without adequate environmental review. As Jessica Ilyse Smith reports, this precedent-setting case may determine how biotech crops are regulated in the future.

Three Men and a Bike

Bicycles burn calories, not carbon, so they’re considered among the cleanest forms of transportation. But most bikes are made of aluminum and steel which leave a large carbon footprint since the materials are mined and processed. Now a group of young men have come up with a clean, renewable replacement: bikes made of bamboo. Living on Earth’s Jessica Ilyse Smith went to the Bamboo Bike Studio in Brooklyn, New York and has our story.

GMO Hay Threatens Organic Dairy Farmers?

A protracted legal battle has surrounded the release of Monsanto’s genetically engineered alfalfa for the past five years. The U.S. Department of Agricuture recently gave farmers the go-ahead to plant the seeds, which worries some organic farmers who also grow alfalfa. Living on Earth’s Jessica Ilyse Smith reports on a new lawsuit filed against the makers of the seed.

Food Deserts

Many low-income neighborhoods in the United States lack access to fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables. Residents in these so-called ‘food deserts’ rely on neighborhood corner stores and fast food chains as their main sources of food. But, as Jessica Ilyse Smith reports from New York City, a number of programs are working to close the food gap by bringing healthy foods close to home.


Have Kitchen Scraps Will Travel

A new business is helping city residents in the Greater Boston area turn their food waste into brown gold. Living on Earth’s Jessica Ilyse Kurn profiles the owner of the kitchen scrap pickup service, Bootstrap Compost.

Heated Debate over Heating Milk

Across the U.S. many state governments are taking up the debate about raw or unpasteurized milk. Living on Earth’s Jessica Ilyse Smith reports that while some people claim that raw milk can carry harmful bacteria, making it a threat to public safety, others say just the opposite – that unpasteurized milk can have positive health benefits and a better taste to boot.

Another Look at Atrazine

One of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S., Atrazine, is being reevaluated by the EPA. Some scientists say the weed killer negatively impacts the environment and human health. But Atrazine’s parent company Syngenta stands behind its product, claiming the nearly 6,000 studies, and the chemical’s 50-year use, are demonstrative of its safety. Living on Earth’s Jessica Ilyse Smith looks at the controversy surrounding EPA’s review of Atrazine.

GE Corn Causes Concern

The agricultural giant, Syngenta, has petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture to grant its new genetically modified corn a non-regulated status. This means that the company’s new seeds could be grown without management or geographic restrictions across the country. Some food experts, and farmers, fear that if this corn is grown without limits, it could end up in the food supply. Living on Earth’s Jessica Ilyse Smith reports.

The Garden of Eva

Waste not, want not, could be the motto of gardener Eva Sommaripa. She uses all parts of the plant when cooking and eats weeds. Eva’s garden is the subject of a new book by chef Didi Emmons called Wild Flavors: One Chef’s Transformative Year Cooking from Eva’s Farm. Living on Earth’s Bruce Gellerman and Jessica Ilyse Kurn went down to the farm to see what was fresh for the picking.


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