Backyard Industry

Food and neighborhood DIY (do-it-yourself) projects go hand in hand for Lisa Bralts, who lives in an east Urbana neighborhood with her family and is surrounded by great food, great neighbors, and several gardens, including her own. She's amazed at the possibilities and practices that exist just underneath the surface in Central Illinois - you just have to poke around a little, which she does with great pleasure. 

Listen to Backyard Industry live on WILL-AM the first and third Thursdays of the month at 2:22 p.m., and the first and third Fridays of the month at 7:35 a.m. In addition to the radio segments, in 2014 Backyard Industry expands into the realm of short-form video, thanks to an equipment grant from PBS Digital Studios and Lisa's partners in this endeavor, Tim Meyers and Jack Brighton. Watch this space for further updates.

You can find out much more about BYI by visiting the website - you'll find lots of writing and photos there. You can also follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and/or Tumblr. Whew!

WILL - Backyard Industry - July 30, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Fungus Among Us

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(Duration: 4:57)

Basil plants with yellowing leaves

Hey - who invited basil downy mildew to the pesto party? In this episode of Backyard Industry, Lisa Bralts consults a couple of local experts about this (sort of) new-to-Illinois plant disease - and gets both good news and bad news.


WILL - Backyard Industry - July 17, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Eat Them to Beat Them

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(Duration: 4:54)

A branch of unripe autumn olives

In this episode of Backyard Industry, Lisa Bralts explores the concept of foraging and eating particular invasive species, like the autumn olive, as one way of slowing them down.


WILL - Backyard Industry - July 02, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Tour de Coop

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(Duration: 4:03)

Chickens in a chicken coop.

As of January 2014, backyard chickens are legal in Champaign, Illinois. What better way to introduce curious friends and neighbors to the concept than to have an open house... for your chicken coop? It seems other wheels are turning, too... Backyard Industry's Lisa Bralts investigates.


WILL - Backyard Industry - June 04, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Backyard Industry Video 2.0: Wool Gathering

A woman's hand is shown shearing a sheep.

Ever wondered where the wool your sweater's made out of comes from? All wool is shorn by a person - it's one task that isn't automated! In this, the second video by the Backyard Industry team, Lisa Bralts learns a thing or two (and gets her hands on some clippers) while visiting Seven Sisters Farm in Sidney, Illinois. 


WILL - Backyard Industry - June 03, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Urbana Bestiary

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(Duration: 5:20)

A muskrat swims up a creek.

Brushes with urban wildlife are mostly unplanned and often unwanted occurrences. In this episode of Backyard Industry, Lisa Bralts connects with Environmental Almanac's Rob Kanter to have some planned and wanted face time with local fauna - and the local fauna delivers.


WILL - Backyard Industry - May 01, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Life Preserver

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(Duration: 4:22)

Three jars of pickled asparagus with a cookbook

Food preservation is mostly associated with instructions that must be followed to the letter (OR ELSE) and a crazy frenzy of production during the peak of the growing season. Backyard Industry's Lisa Bralts has found a cookbook that not only makes the process seem less intimidating, it also soothes with terrific stories and photos, gently encourages production year round, and reminds the reader they don't have to grow it all. 


WILL - Backyard Industry - April 23, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Wiggle Room

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(Duration: 4:44)

A handful of red wiggler worms.

Backyard Industry's Lisa Bralts has always been a fan of the worms working in her compost pile at home. It turns out the folks at the Sustainable Student Farm on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus are fans, as well, but on a much larger scale. 


WILL - Backyard Industry - March 25, 2014 ~ Comment (1)

Ramen Shaman

Urbana, IL chef and culinary pop-up proponent Mark Hartstein is fond of pickles, Hello Kitty, and extremely mainstream pop music. He and his wife Leslie also prepare a mean bowl of ramen when the occasion arises, which it did this past January at their "Saru Ramen" pop-up. Not only did they bring together and feed many patient locals on that frigid Tuesday night (with proceeds going to benefit the Eastern Illinois Foodbank), they even let Backyard Industry's Lisa Bralts "help".

Categories: Community, Food


WILL - Backyard Industry - February 18, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Whey To Go

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(Duration: 4:11)

Several jars of homemade yogurt on a counter

In her quest for some so-called "project cooking" over the weekend, Backyard Industry's Lisa Bralts instead ends up (finally) using a dormant kitchen gadget, reducing (just a little) the contents of her recycling bin, and revisiting the idea of making, instead of buying, staple foods.

Categories: Food, How-to

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