W. W. Norton & Co.

Welcome to Access Utah.  The new book "Pig Tales: An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat" will make you think twice about eating bacon.  Author Barry Estabrook investigates the pork industry from the big factory farms to the small heritage pig farms, where pigs are raised on pastures instead of slaughterhouses. He reveals the intelligence of pigs through stories about pigs using computers and he writes about their emotional side as well.  

Sheri Quinn talks to Estabrook today on the program about the investigation into pig farming. Then on "Science Questions" a feature story from member station KUOW, in Seattle, presents a tale about the first tree on the moon. 

Photo of Desert Four O'Clock

Mirabilis multiflora, also known as the Desert Four O’Clock, is a spectacular plant that doesn’t need additional water once established, and it blossoms continuously from early summer until fall. Learn about it on the Zesty Garden this Thursday at 10:00, along with bombardier beetles and trap-jaw ants with Diane Alston, and the industry of nursery-grown tomatoes in Canada on Petals and Prose.

National Geographic

"Cars, for Americans, more than anything else represent freedom." So says Matt Hardigree, executive director of, who is featured in National Geographic Channel's new documentary film, "Driving America," which premieres on Memorial Day. The film examines how car culture has changed the way we live, work, travel and socialize; and looks into the future, including potential game changers like Tesla's electric cars. 

Access Utah is presenting a periodic series of conversations on the hotly-debated topic of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs.) Our last such program, a few months ago, presented the case for GMOs. Wednesday on AU, public interest attorney Steven Druker will present a vigorous case against GMOs. Mr. Druker initiated a lawsuit that, according to him, forced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to divulge its files on genetically engineered foods.

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

How do you sum up a life? What do you include and what do you leave out? Heather Lende, author of the new book "Find the Good," is the obituary writer for the Chilkat Valley News in a beautiful but often dangerous spit of land in Alaska. She says "we are all writing our own obituary every day by how we live." Shanan Ballam, who teaches Creative Writing at Utah State University, wrote her brother Dylan's obituary. She felt that the obituary was not enough--it left too much unsaid.  So she's been writing "addendum" poems, to "more fully characterize, celebrate, and mourn [her] brother." 

Heather Lende has contributed essays and commentary to NPR, the New York Times, and National Geographic Traveler, among other newspapers and magazines, and is a former contributing editor at Woman's Day. In addition to writing obituaries for the Chilkat Valley News, she is  columnist for the Alaska Dispatch News. Her previous books include  If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name, and Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs.

Graywolf Press

In the 1960s, humans took their first steps away from Earth, and for a time our possibilities in space seemed endless. But in a time of austerity and in the wake of high-profile disasters like Challenger, that dream seems to have ended. In early 2011, Margaret Lazarus Dean traveled to Cape Canaveral for NASA's last three space shuttle launches in order to bear witness to the end of an era.

In her new book "Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight" Dean serves as our guide to Florida's Space Coast and to the history of NASA., taking the measure of what American spaceflight has achieved while reckoning with its earlier witnesses, such as Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, and Oriana Fallaci. Along the way, Dean meets NASA workers, astronauts, and space fans, gathering answers to the question: What does it mean that a spacefaring nation won't be going to space anymore? 


The Coast Guard aviation community consists of approximately 800 pilots.  They’re some of the best pilots in the world.  Today Sheri Quinn talks to helicopter pilot Rick Hipes who served two decades in the Coast Guard, where he rescued people in the seas and mountains, and on the ground in cities.  He also helped capture one of the world's most notorious drug traffickers.  

Image of Gardener's Market

Have you ever wondered what you might find at a farmer’s market? What’s the best way to approach what and how you buy? How much cash should you have? How do you know what you’re purchasing is straight from the farm and not just being resold. These and other questions will be answered on today’s Zesty Garden by Darla and Michelle from The Tasty Trek. There's also a conversation with Kelly Kopp, USU Water Conservation and Turfgrass Specialist. The severe water restrictions in California are not far away from being implemented in Utah. Learn what you can do to reduce the amount of water you use and do much more with less. Finally, Nancy Williams honors mothers with an essay about…sparrows.

Link to Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance

In 1891, Lucien L. Nunn, working with Nicola Tesla and George Westinghouse, Jr., pioneered the world’s first commercial production of high-tension alternating current (AC) for long-distance transmission—something Thomas Edison deemed dangerous and irresponsible. After creating the Telluride Power Company, Nunn constructed the state-of-the-art Olmsted Power Plant in Provo Canyon and the Ontario Power Works at Niagara Falls. To support this new technology, he developed an imaginative model of industrial training that became so compelling that he ultimately abandoned his entrepreneurial career to devote his wealth and talents to experimenting with a new model of liberal education. In 1917, Nunn founded Deep Springs College in eastern California. The school remains one of the most daring, progressive, and selective institutions of higher learning in America.

Joe Hill, labor icon and songwriter for the Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies, was executed by a Utah firing squad in November, 1915, after being convicted of two murders in a controversial trial. To commemorate the centenary of Hill's death, Folk musician and labor activist John McCutcheon is releasing a new album "Joe Hill's Last Will" which grew out of a one-man play of the same name written by activist and musician Si Kahn.

In a time of excess for many, some are living with less.  A lot less! Tiny living has become increasingly popular in the past few years and today on Access Utah we'll talk about this thirst for simplicity, how it's changing the lives of those who live this way, how it's affecting the environment around them, and if Tiny Houses could be in the future for more of us.  Our guests include Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller, Co-Directors of TINY, a documentary on Tiny living; Jeffrey White of the Sarah House Project and MicroHouse Utah; and Macy Miller, who lives in a tiny space of her own in Boise, Idaho.

The producers of the new documentary film "The True Cost" note that there has been a 500% increase in clothing consumption in the past two decades, and that the U.S. has gone from producing more than 90% of its clothing in the 1960s to just three percent today. They say that the price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically.

A photo of cantaloupe

Now that your early crops are coming along, just what should you do to protect them? For instance, flea beetles, those little, black, pin-head sized jumpers want to ravage your arugula. Who tells them you planted arugula in your garden anyway. So…floating row covers can be a big help, without the pesticides, to act as a barrier to these and other hungry munchers of your leafy greens. USU Extension Vegetable Specialist, Dan Drost, is in studio to take your questions and comments.  For something different…It’s all about that Rhubarb, ‘bout that Rhubarb, no trouble! So what CAN you do with this easy-to-grow perennial other than make a pie. Dan will have a few suggestions. Then on Petals and Prose, Helen Cannon celebrates last month as National Poetry Month.

Rhubarb Recipes from Dan Drost

Countryman Press

Welcome to Access Utah.  Small farmers are increasingly women these days.  They are currently raking in roughly 13 billion dollars in produce every year.  Today on the program, Sheri Quinn talks to Audrey Levatino, a female farmer, who left her teaching job to start a small sustainable farm selling cut flowers, pretty much all by herself.  She is the author of "Woman Powered Farm."   

National Association of Music Merchants

We'll dive into some great Mariachi music and learn its history on Thursday's AU. We'll talk about how Mariachi music conveys Mexican culture, in Mexico and around the world, and we'll hear music performed by Lila Downs, Selena, and Vicente and Alejandro Fernandez, among others. 


Our guide to the music and culture is Maria Spicer-Escalante, USU Associate Professor of Linguistics and Spanish, who grew up in Mexico and continues to love this music. She says the art form is alive and well and being picked up by young people and by all-women groups such as the Mariachi Divas.

Cr"Drought in Utah" by Anthony Quintano via Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0 (

<<Share Your Drought Insight>>

The lake level in the Great Salt Lake got so low last month that the sailboats in the marina all had to be removed until there’s enough water to sail again. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has already qualified two Utah counties as disaster areas due to drought. It seems like Utah is on the fringe of the worst of the Western drought, but we are not immune. 

Utah Public Radio is partnering with newsrooms across the country to see how everyday people are feeling the effect—or not—of the drought.

We'll use your insights for news coverage of the drought this summer and programs like Access Utah and The Source.

<<Share Your Drought Insight>>

Oxford University Press

Homesickness today is dismissed as a sign of immaturity: It's what children feel at summer camp. But in the nineteenth century it was recognized as a powerful emotion. When gold miners in California heard the tune "Home, Sweet Home," they sobbed. When Civil War soldiers became homesick, army doctors sent them home, lest they die. Such images don't fit with our national mythology, which celebrates the restless individualism of immigrants who supposedly left home and never looked back. 

Susan Matt, author of "Homesickness: An American History" says that iconic symbols of the undaunted, forward-looking American spirit were often homesick, hesitant, and reluctant voyagers. Even today, in a global society that prizes movement and that condemns homesickness as a childish emotion, colleges counsel young adults and their families on how to manage the transition away from home, suburbanites pine for their old neighborhoods, and companies take seriously the emotional toll borne by relocated executives and road warriors. By highlighting how Americans have reacted to moving farther and farther from their roots, Matt revises long-held assumptions about home, mobility, and our national identity.

American Folklife Center

 A joint initiative of Utah State University and the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress will conduct a field-school project, beginning next week, for a field project called Voices: Refugees in Cache Valley. Designed to collect the stories and life experiences of refugees, the project will seek voices from Karen, Burmese, Eritrean, and other refugee communities in Cache Valley, Utah. We'll talk about the project and hear stories of refugees who've settled in Utah on Tuesday's Access Utah.

During the program, Chit Moe, a USU student and Karen Refugee, describes a traditional dance of the Karen people. You can watch a performance of this dance here. 

What does it mean to feel? The study of emotions has emerged as a central topic in the new discipline of affective neuroscience. In their new book, "The Feeling Brain," Elizabeth Johnston and Leah Olson trace how work in this rapidly expanding field speaks to fundamental questions: What is the function of emotions? What is the role of the body in emotions? What are "feelings," and how do they relate to emotions? Why are emotions so difficult to control? Is there an emotional brain?


Photo of Allergy-Fighting Garden Book

Just how do you get away from all that pollen that causes allergies. Plant more female plants! On today's Zesty Garden is an interview with Thomas Leo Ogren about his book "The Allergy-Fighting Garden." We also discuss his OPALS scale that assigns a number from one to ten to each plant so you know which one has less pollen than another. Also, in Going Native! learn about the Yellow Sulfur Buckwheat, then we finish with Petals and Prose.

G. P. Putnam's Sons

Before launching her popular blog, "One Good Thing by Jillee," Heber City resident Jill Nystul was a newscaster battling a long list of demons. Suffering from postpartum anxiety and struggling to care for her four children, including a young son with celiac disease and diabetes, Nystul turned to food and alcohol for comfort. Her alcohol consumption eventually spiraled into an addiction that nearly cost her her family. Finally, after a yearlong marital separation and a hard look at herself in rehab, she realized that she needed to turn her life around. She began simply: blogging about one good thing each day. 

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

In the eighteenth century, Catherine the Great enticed German farmers to settle in Russia. The German communities remained distinct from the Russians linguistically and culturally. Julie Mangano is descended from such German settlers in Russia, as is the modern-day protagonist, Linden St. Clair, of her new novel “Braha.” The contemporary side of the novel revolves around Linden trying to uncover the truth behind the death of her beloved grandfather, Franklin, a wealthy rancher in rural Somerville, California. The second story comes from the memoirs of Linden’s great-great grandmother, Leena Lagerlöf, née Weiss, an ethnic German born in Russia, who fled in the last days of the czars. Both tales speak of lost loves and of truths dangerous and hidden. 

New Yorker

Recently, tens of thousands of workers protested across the U.S. demanding a $15.00 per hour national minimum wage. Many say that even working full time or more they can't provide for their families. We'll examine income inequality on Tuesday's AU. 

UPR listeners are curious about everything. We're always wanting to learn something fascinating. That's why we're avid readers. Periodically we come together on Access Utah to build a UPR Book List, and we're going to do it again on Monday. So we're asking: What are you reading? We're looking for everything from fiction, non-fiction, and classic literature to young adult and children's books. It might even be a textbook or manual that you can recommend. You can email your list to us right now at

Jennifer Pemberton

When water is left alone, it makes a mess. It backs up into wetlands. Rivers overflow their banks. Mud and silt builds up, new channels open up. But Elijah Portugal, who studies how rivers and streams shape the land, says that that mess is what rivers need to be functional. “Messiness matters,” he says.

In this program, we’ll meet some of the people who have been responsible for cleaning up rivers: the state and federal agencies responsible for controlling water -- for making sure it doesn’t slow down or back up, that it gets to where we need it as efficiently as possible. We’ll also meet people who appreciate the messiness of streams in their natural states -- it’s that messiness that creates great habitat for fish and birds and a host of other ecosystem benefits. And we’ll meet the creatures that mess up watersheds in the best possible way. The hour is all about Beavers and Dams.