About Backyard Industry


My name’s Lisa. I live in Urbana, IL with my husband, teenage daughter, and three aging, grumpy cats. My oldest child is 22, a photographer, and lives in CHGO; my youngest is 16, a soccer player and writer, and a junior in high school. My husband runs a record label, has an awesome beard, and has the best legs in central Illinois, helped along by coaching and reffing youth soccer year-round. I work full-time in public media, I’m an unrepentant soccer spouse and mom, and I love my friends and community so very much. I used to work in the music business. I worship Studs Terkel, I have way more food-related books and publications than any one person should probably have, and I live in a neighborhood with several other people who can say the same thing.

Our house is small, but our lot is large, and so is my garden, every year. I love food, grow food, cook food, struggle with food, and try to understand food. I grew up lacking much food tradition in my childhood home, but I had some major, life-changing epiphanies in the last two decades that have turned that around. I think everyone has a food story to tell, which is why…

…I started Backyard Industry in June, 2010, as In My Backyard, a series of short, local food-related radio segments (often about my neighbors) for WILL-AM580, the NPR affiliate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The radio series, edited by WILL Director of Agricultural Services Dave Dickey, continued as Backyard Industry in 2014 and ceased production at the end of the year. Thanks for everything, Dave! Also in 2014: Backyard Industry expanded into the realm of short-form video, thanks to an equipment grant from PBS Digital Studios and my partners in this endeavor, Tim Meyers and Jack Brighton. Thanks, PBSDS! Thanks, Tim! Thanks, Jack! We’ll wrap up the video series early in 2015. What comes next? I’m thinking podcast.

Audio and video are awesome, and I know damn well I’m very lucky to be able to do it, but I also want Backyard Industry to have a longer-form writing/photo component and interactive place on the web that isn’t social media. So! Here I am! Blogging! I started personal blogging 15 years ago. I blogged at such well-known entities (ha) as Jennie Bomb, Madame Insane, Miz Untitled, and, of course, Wordy Diva. Kidding aside, I believe and hope people are moving back to blogs as places to find community and inspiration – places slightly less in-your-face and not as 24-hour-news-cycley. I look forward to hanging out with friends old and new in this space.

Backyard Industry‘s mission, for those who are interested: To enlighten, inspire, and encourage viewers, listeners, and readers with short audio and video stories about the frequently hidden intersections between food, tradition, community, projects, and practice in Central Illinois and the Midwest. In other words, we want you to see and hear  people doing interesting food projects … and then we want you to consider doing your own food projects, with your own spin on them, and at your own pace… and then we want you to  take the plunge… having ridiculous fun the entire time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *