Organic food is a hot market in the U.S. The Organic Trade Association says that sales over the last five years have grown 35 percent. But there’s a problem in the supply chain – not enough organic grain.
Many producers in the farm belt aren’t willing to take on organic production despite a hefty price premium. That has left organic food companies scrambling to find enough raw ingredients for the products that hit grocery store shelves. Just as corn and soybeans dominate conventional processed food and meat, these same grains are often key ingredients for organic foods.
Women have worked in agriculture since agriculture began, but for many years they were limited to supporting roles. Talk of Iowa seeks out women's voices in agriculture, through history and today. Jenny Barker-Devine, author of "On Behalf of the Family Farm: Iowa Farm Women's Activism since 1945" discusses how the roles of farm women changed during the 20th century.
Urban areas in the Midwest are often referred to as “food deserts”, lacking in affordable, local fresh greens and produce. Many people living in these areas are suffering from poor diet and subsequent disease. Ben Kieffer speaks with Will Allen, an urban farmer who is working to eliminate the fresh food shortage is these neighborhoods. Then Iowa State historian Pamela Riney-Kehrberg discusses a time when a large portion of the country was considered a desert, the 1930s Dust Bowl.
The drought was hard on everyone this year and on today's Horticulture Day Kathleen Delate, a horticulture professor at Iowa State University, talks about how organic crops fared. Then, she discusses the diversity of organic produce in the state and how producers are responding to a growing demand for locally grown food.