The Sonja Hillgren/ Farm Journal Ag Journalism Field Reporting Institute
In remembrance of Sonja Hillgren, Farm Journal is funding an experience for journalism students that will allow her spirit to live on. The Sonja Hillgren/Farm Journal Ag Journalism Field Reporting Institute is the backbone of "Field Reporting on Food and Natural Resources," an agricultural journalism course at the University of Missouri in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
The Institute explores the vast scientific, economic and social changes under way in U.S. agriculture and their impact on the food supply and the environment. Students meet, learn from and interview leading researchers, government officials, food industry representatives, farmers and others—out in the fields, on the rivers and at the facilities where these issues take shape.
The 2010 Sonja Hillgren Institute
Photo Essay: A Day in the Life of a Farmer
Aimee Gutshell, 2010 Sonja Hillren Institute
In his green Carhart jacket, aviator sunglasses and old baseball cap, Rusty Lee, owner of Lee Farms LLC., begins the day’s work on his 20-acre vegetable farm in Truxton, Mo. "I usually begin the day getting the plan together and organizing the day’s work," Lee said.
A Georgia Vegetable Farmer in Mid-Missouri
Kellie Kotraba, 2010 Sonja Hillgren Institute
Rusty Lee plucked a peanut from the tangles of dusty foliage and dirt-laden roots that lay on a wooden trailer bed in the middle of his shop. "They’re not ready to eat yet," he said, cracking one open to reveal a pale pink nut.
Mobile Processing: A Solution to a Bottleneck in the Local Food Chain?
Daniel Beerman, 2010 Sonja Hillgren Institute
At Sappington Farmers’ Market in St. Louis, business manager Randy Wood discusses how customer demand for small-farm and local produce has increased in Missouri urban areas. In fact, demand outstrips the supply of some products on the store’s shelves, Wood says.
New Oasis in a Food Desert
Kevin Petersen, 2010 Sonja Hillgren Institute
Old North St. Louis looks a lot like the other areas in St. Louis City. Battered red brick buildings line the streets that stretch as far as the eye can see, and faded signs cling to old churches and corner stores.
Leaving Produce Row
Leif Kothe, 2010 Sonja Hillgren Institute
The storage units of Produce Row, just north of downtown St. Louis, are a labyrinth of shifting temperatures and changing scents. The room with tomatoes is a comfortable 55 degrees, while the room with lettuce and carrots is a frigid 34.
From Farm to Foodie
Samantha Chulick, 2010 Sonja Hillgren Institute
The square table is set with spotless silverware and white cloth napkins. Ginger gusts rise from the oven and sweep through the one-room restaurant promising culinary delights. The room echoes with murmurs of gastronomical mirth. No, this isn’t a five-star restaurant in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. This is the Traveler’s Table, deep in the Ozarks, near Davisville, Mo.
Not Just Sprouting Up: Local Food Movement Ripens with Growth
Eric Dundon and Amanda Bromwich, 2010 Sonja Hillgren Institute
From afar, it looks like a caravan. Dozens of white tents shelter last night’s pickings of green beans, apples and squash from the whipping wind of mid-October. Children chase each other in an adjacent field. Fiddle music fills the air. Old friends meet in the walkway, chatting about the day’s finds. All in the name of local food.
A Fifth-generation Hog Farmer with an Eye on Changes
Monica Everett, 2010 Sonja Hillgren Institute
Todd Geisert knows the ins and outs of the hog business, and he knows his pigs.
The Mexican Wolf: Road to Reintroduction
Kyle Deas, 2010 Sonja Hillgren Institute
At the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Mo., isolated from human contact, lives a Mexican gray wolf. He is small: five feet long and three feet high, the size of a German shepherd. His fur is dark gray over most of his body, but he has a shock of white on his cheeks and chest. He has no name, only a studbook number — 1049. But he is special.
Food, Community and the Rebirth of Old North St. Louis
Connor Elfrink, 2010 Sonja Hillgren Institute
A box of organic "Annie’s Homegrown" cereal sits next to a box of off-brand "Frosted Mini-Spooners." Nearby rests a wood crate filled with moist heads of green lettuce and canned vegetables.
With your support, this Institute will be able to grow and offer an expanded perspective of the industry that Sonja covered for more than 30 years, including the addition of a policy component to its curriculum.
Contribute to the Sonja Hillgren/Farm Journal Ag Journalism Field Reporting Institute. Click here to fill out the contribution form. The completed forms can be faxed to (573) 884-8174.
Donations can be made online at https://donatetomu.missouri.edu/. Select "Other" as the fund site and note "Sonja Hillgren/Farm Journal Ag Journalism Field Reporting Institute" in the box below.