The unrestrained, government-subsidized growth of Big Ag in Iowa is costing the rest of the state — and continent — in recreational opportunities, drinkable water and millions in public funds. High nitrate levels tied to industrial farming practices (monocropping, CAFOs, spreading fertilizer within feet of watersheds), for example, have so polluted the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers that the groundwater now consistently requires extensive, expensive treatment to supply the state’s biggest city with tap water. Algae blooms, the result of Iowa agricultural runoff, can clog up filters and poison fish from here to the Gulf of Mexico.
In this issue, Little Village news director Paul Brennan interviews researcher and author of Swine Republic Chris Jones about the shitty state of our shit-filled state, and how we got here. Meanwhile, Sean Dengler talks to fellow small farmers demonstrating the kind of clever, sustainable practices needed to maintain the environment and actually feed Iowans, and Iowa’s only independently owned and operated nature center celebrates 50 years in Linn County.
Also in this issue: Booker T. Jones reflects on writing a ’60s hit as a teenager in an integrated band; Kent Williams critiques RAGBRAI’s music programming; a Floridian spends a week in Iowa and reports on the highs and lows; and Twin Cities rapper Nur-D is ready to drop some truth bombs and DnD references on Des Moines. Plus: India Cafe brings back its beloved lunch buffet, a brief guide to RAGBRAI’s traveling food options, and more.