Blake Farmer

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U.S.
5:26 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Army Aims To Use Words, Not Weapons, With Afghans

U.S. Army soldiers learn to play khosai, Afghanistan's full-contact national pastime, at Fort Campbell.
Blake Farmer for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 5:53 pm

The U.S. Army has been ramping up instruction in the languages of Afghanistan, even as troop levels in the country decrease in preparation for the U.S. troop withdrawal in 2014.

This year, key installations have added several hundred speakers of Pashto and Dari to their ranks, more than doubling the number of soldiers trained in the Afghan languages.

But it's not just the country's languages that are foreign to U.S. soldiers — it's the culture, as well.

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The Salt
4:05 pm
Sat June 2, 2012

Tired Of Mowing Your Lawn? Try Foodscaping It Instead

The lawn of Nashville yoga instructor James Alvarez is being taken over by buckwheat.
Blake Farmer Nashville Public Radio

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 9:14 pm

When the economy began its steep decline in 2008, almost everything related to housing hit the skids, including the lawn and garden industry. But one sector escaped the pinch: food gardening.

In fact, food gardening sales nationwide have spiked 20 percent since then, and they've stayed there. While many households started growing food to be more budget-conscious, some are deciding vegetables and fruits can be beautiful, too.

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