America's hugely productive food system is one of its success stories. The nation will export a projected $139.5 billion in agricultural products this fiscal year alone. It's an industry that supports "more than 1 million jobs," according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
But all that productivity has taken a toll on the environment, especially rivers and lakes: Agriculture is the nation's leading cause of impaired water quality, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The plot of Five Star Billionaire, with its multiple protagonists, may seem deceptively familiar: a neglected boy claws his way from rags to riches; a country girl tries to make her way in the city; a city girl tries to prove her worth in a man's world of business; a rock star falls victim to the fame machine; and a rich man tumbles from grace.
It's the time of the season when love for pop music runs high. Summer is officially here, and an unofficial competition is underway to crown 2013's "Song of the Summer." We're talking about those unavoidable pop anthems that are played over and over again on the radio, at the beach and out the window of passing cars. You can't escape them — you can only hope to enjoy them. NPR Music curated a list featuring more than 100 of the hits from the last 50 years.
Say you're in Midtown Manhattan at rush hour. You need to go a mile uptown, and you can't find a cab. A pedicab, a taxi-bicycle hybrid (like the one in the picture) may not be a bad option.
Riding through the middle of Manhattan on the back of a bike, dodging buses and cabs, feels like the Wild West of transportation options. The pricing feels that way too: Unlike buses or cabs, pedicabs don't charge a set fee. It's whatever the rider and the driver agree to. And, like in the Wild West, innocents often get fleeced.
In the fight against drug trafficking, Central America has become a large recipient of U.S. aid, receiving nearly half a billion dollars over the past seven years. The money is being spent on strengthening police and military forces that are outgunned by the narcotics traffickers.
The goal is to repeat the kind of success that took place over time in places like Colombia.
Artisanal food fever is raging, and the latest sign is the rise in sales of old-fashioned butter churns.
Purveyor Glenda Lehman Ervin of Lehman's sells old-timey kitchen gadgets online and at her family's store in Kidron, Ohio. She says the clientele is quite diverse. "There are lots of people interested," she says.
It's not just homesteaders, hipsters and do-it-yourself-minded foodies getting in on the hands-on pursuit.
Some of the greatest summer food experiences take you outside. Whether it's shucking corn and barbecuing or spitting watermelon seeds, an outdoor setting can add a whole new dimension to food.
Bill Smith, chef at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill, N.C., says some of his favorite summer food memories took place at picnic tables over messy bowls of his grandmother's crab stew. He shared a recipe for All Things Considered's Found Recipes series.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
Time spent among people who do the same kind of work can boost morale, sharpen creativity, just go to a conference or a retreat. So some people involved in education thought how about giving teachers a place where are a lot of them can live under one roof. They're trying that in Philadelphia.