'Today' show films sustainable living in Columbia

Monday, March 16, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 11:21 a.m. CDT, Monday, March 23, 2009

COLUMBIA — NBC's "Today" show made an appearance in Columbia Saturday filming for a future story featuring the lifestyle of husband and wife Bill McKelvey and Jill Lucht.

The show was shooting a piece of a four-part series on voluntary simplicity as a response to the recession.

“For us, sustainability is the key,” Lucht said. “We don’t do it because of the recession, but they can see how other people might.”

The show followed the couple as they recreated a typical sustainable day. Lucht is a rural sociologist, and McKelvey is an extension associate for the agriculture and natural resources department’s Healthy Lifestyle Promotion Initiative.

The crew followed Lucht and McKelvey from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“We walked to work, stopped by Main Squeeze and the Root Cellar, I did some cooking and some gardening, we milked the goats, and they filmed us having one of our potlucks,” Lucht said.

Leigh Lockhart, owner and self-proclaimed “top banana” of Main Squeeze, lives across the street from the couple and shares a multi-yard compost heap with them.

Lockhart said "Today" learned of Lucht and McKelvey’s sustainable lifestyle from a profile on the couple in the Spring 2009 edition of Mizzou magazine put out by the Mizzou Alumni Association.

The "Today" show "was going to try to recreate a normal sustainable day for Jill and Bill," Lockhart said. "So they called me up and asked if they could bring the show by.”

The crew taped for about 40 minutes at Main Squeeze, a natural food cafe and juice bar that serves vegetarian food, offers vegan choices and strives to further sustainable living.

“None of the food that customers leave on their plates gets thrown away," Lockhart said. "I take it home and compost it.”

In addition to composting, Main Squeeze pays a premium to use green electricity, buys its food locally to reduce pollution and costs associated with long distance shipping, buys organic food, sells reusable metal to-go boxes and even makes mosaics out of broken dishes.

 Lucht said the key to sustainablity is to support local farmers, businesses and more.

“There is a joy in our (sustainable) lifestyle,” Lucht said. “Some people think our lives are sacrificial or that we are too frugal. But living this way really brings the joy out in people.”

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