Reports From the Road: Hangar 24 and a Student-Run Farm

The variety of America, chapter 12,825

It's been a very long day of interviewing and visiting, and before an early start tomorrow and some "real" reports on this next American Futures stop, here's a shot from one of the moments that makes the reporting life worthwhile.

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Early this morning Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal (and team) and I got to talk with Ben Cook, head of the Hangar 24 craft brewery in Redlands, California, about how his little company has become one of the fastest-growing startups in its field. Five-plus years ago, when I first began visiting, Hangar 24 was a two-person operation in a wasteland adjoining a tiny airport, very far from any big city. Now it employs more than 130 people, has had annual growth rates of between 50% and 100%, and is expanding its footprint all over the West. More of its background on the airwaves and in this space soon. (That's Cook on the right, Ryssdal in the middle, local guide on the left, at the H24 brewery.) 

A few miles away, my wife and I visited the Grove School, a local charter school that, among other things, operates its own student-run farm. A locally owned grocery store had just sent in an order for fresh lettuce, which the students were picking -- and which we'll look for in the store tomorrow.

Meanwhile other students in the school were working through their math problems:

This is a different range of activities from what I recall of my school days here. My wife Deb, who has reported on schools in Eastport, Sioux Falls, Burlington, and elsewhere will follow up here. Signing off now, and getting ready for tomorrow's interviews and reports.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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