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Colin Bunker

In the article “Iowa should grow and offer more food choices” Mark Edwards argues that Iowa should grow a larger diversity of crops to feed the citizens of Iowa and help preserve the soil as well as the rest of the environment. Edwards says “In Iowa we import 86 percent of what we eat.” With the amount of farmland available Edwards argues that Iowa should be growing more of its own food. He later says “we consume two-thirds of Iowa’s 36 million acres for only two plants, corn and soybeans.” Edwards uses this to show the lack of diversity in the crops being grown in Iowa which leads to the amount of food that Iowa is forced to import to feed its residents. Referring to corn and soybeans Edwards also argues “they require vast amounts of petroleum, chemical fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and soil loss.” All of these are toxic ingredients that damage the local environment by intoxicating water sources, killing wildlife, and ultimately changing the landscape of the state of Iowa.

Edwards is certainly correct about the environmental impact of importing most of your food. Only growing a select variety of crops does not give the soil enough time to recuperate its nutrients which ultimately causes smaller crop yields and worse food. Also, with the large amount of farms in Iowa with livestock there is a major issue with waste intoxicating water sources. Not only is there a negative environmental impact from Iowa’s current farming methods but there is also a negative impact on the inhabitants of Iowa. Residents are forced to endure all the negative effects of the extensive amount of farming; however they see very little benefits. Most of Iowa’s crop yields are exported to other states leaving citizens to buy preserved foods imported from all across the globe. Iowa clearly has the resources and farmland to provide its inhabitants with homegrown fresh meats and vegetables and it’s about time for Iowa to expand on the food choices it offers its residents.

Jessica Holanda

Mark Edwards proposes a different approach at the food industry by providing his experience on the underestimated process of processed foods. Shedding light on the process,of which most Americans don't see, opens up the readers eyes and begins to expand the view on what else processed food actually means. Processed foods may not always literally mean processed in a factory and Edwards includes experience from his friend Michael, the truck driver. I was expecting Edwards to explain how the tomato sauce was made all in one factory. Unbeknownst to me, he described how it was already transported from at least 1,500 miles away only to make additional stops to add extra ingredients. This was a shocking realization.

Is it not bad enough that most of our crops are thousands of miles away? Apparently not. Edwards concludes his argument that it is highly effecting the environment and we are not even paying a good price by only getting cheap less than nutritious food. The statewide mono-culture is driving out quality water with it's use of toxic chemicals...the number one source for survival. Should we not be more conscious as Americans to squeeze in enough time in our routines to grab some cash and hit the farmer's market once in a while. It is a past time we seemed to have forgotten about. And not to mention it supports a much better environment-our backyards and neighbors!. If we allow giant corporations to do whatever they please with no interference, we will very likely regret that move. Our money is a vote on what we would like. I say we take advantage of capitalism before it is no longer a privilege.

Mitchell Rose

People who live in rural places have a harder time getting food than you would think. While yes they grow their own food, they still have to grow, harvest, and cook it. It would be easier to just go down to the local Walmart but what if they don’t have one. Most rural areas don’t have super markets which could be bad for them since it’s not a convenient for them. However, those who grow their own food are generally healthier than those who go to the supermarket.

Andrew Palm

Mark Edwards tells a big truth behind the food industry in this article. I especially liked the portion of his article where he was explaining how the "Authentic Chicago Style" pizza sauce was shipped to Chicago. But he did bring up some good points in his article that amazed me, like for instance that Iowa has to import most of their food from around 1500 miles away. I always thought that Iowa was a big exporter of food.

Dezeray Vanderheiden, Peyton Renning, and Mason Millard

The land that at times can go from being green one day, to brown the other, and even white as well-- the great state of Iowa. Iowa is made up of vast flat lands filled with acreages of crops, hilly regions of small towns, and skyscraping buildings in the capital of Des Moines. There are many types of land and culture within Iowa, but one thing it all has in common is the production of food.
Iowa is supposed to be known for healthy, nutritious, and unprocessed foods, but that is no where near close to the truth. Mark Edwards states in his article, Iowa should grow and offer more choices, “In Iowa we import 86 percent of what we eat and it comes from an average of 1,500 miles away.” We believe that this percentage should decrease, and the people of Iowa should start eating more of what they are famous for making. Even though we grow our own healthy food, we still decide to roam through the aisles of grocery stores and buy highly processed, unhealthy, and foreign products.
Fast food chains, seafood, frozen dinners, and junk food are some examples of products not provided by Iowa, but yet the population consumes most of these items over Iowa grown food. The reason why individuals choose this way to eat is because it is faster, easier, and foreign. Most people in Iowa would rather eat something that they don’t look at, work on, or hear about on a daily basis. What many people don’t think of when it comes to food products in Iowa is where they all come from. Yes, the common person thinks it grows on an acreage by a farmer, but how much of Iowa is consumed by these acreages of land? Mark Edwards stated in his article, “We cultivated 95 percent, that’s 56,290 square miles, into just a few species. We consume two-thirds of Iowa’s 36 million acres for only two plants — corn and soybeans.” This information helps state that the amount of land used for farming mainly consists of two products. These two products are used mostly for fuel and feeding livestock, but needs to also feed the population of Iowa.
Iowa is supposed to be known as the center of food production in the midwest. Even though it is the population where this production of foods exist, the people of Iowa choose to eat foods foreign to their region. On average Iowans import 86 percent of their food from 1,500 miles away even though they have food available to them in their own backyard. Iowans need to learn to use their resources more, not only for their own good, but for the greater good of the United States of America.

Joel Griffith

Everyone needs to read this - Mark Edwards is an intelligent man!

Lauren E

I support Mark Edwards’ overall argument that Americans need to stop abusing our environment specifically farming lands in Iowa. I think he explains his points very thoroughly, however, he does not propose a solution for the issue at hand. He goes on about how we waste a lot of topsoil through our poor farming habits, and that most of the crops produced in Iowa are not even for human food consumption. Instead, Mark Edwards should suggest a solution like encouraging farmers to use hydroponics because it requires no soils, so it could help reduce the amount of wasted topsoil. Or perhaps suggest using the nutrient rich mollisol soils for food people actually consume. Discussing solutions, would be more beneficial to the readers.

Abu Bakr Ghaznavi

I agree, that the cheap food and preservatives are damaging to human health and the environment overall. However, no one has an incentive to reverse these trends. Iowa traded it's environment and health for fast-food and profit. Like Edwards stated Iowa has "95 percent" of its land. The only solution would be to drop out of the food economy, thus leaving Iowa still dependent on fatty fast-foods but with less money to buy it. If the situation became drastic, Iowa could just produce healthy food for themselves instead of constantly exporting it in exchange for fast food.

Marta W

I agree with the main point of this article, that the environment is being abused for the production of cheap, artificial foods. Edwards does a good job of thoroughly explaining how the environment is ruined in Iowa do to this food production. He goes in depth about the various types of chemicals that are sprayed right onto the land to get the crops to taste a certain way or stay fresh for a bit longer. Edwards understands that the main issue with this is that it not only kills off animals, but also permanently strips the soil of it's rich qualities and ruins all the nutrients. In my opinion, a new type of top soil should be innovated to protect against this happening.

Connor Adams

In this article, Edwards tells about the negative affects being had on his home state of Iowa's land. He claims that the preservatives that are used along with the sheer quantity of food being raised is very damaging not only to human health, but the environment as a whole. Edwards suggests that something must be done to reverse this damaging trend of trading Iowa's land for fast food. I agree that these conditions must be stopped. Similar affects are being felt across the country where over use of land and harmful chemicals are leaving a lasting negative impact. In this case, the product does not justify the sacrifice at all.

Hannah F.

The creation of food has turned away from feeding the people of the country and more towards speeding up the process and maxing the profit. Iowa utilizes factory farms which are damaging the environment, all while importing the majority of its food in order to dedicate the land to cultivating only two crops for animal feed, and has managed to rewrite its whole landscape and ecosystem to fund the business of trading food to large companies and exporting corn and soy. I feel as though there is no way to fix what Edwards is calling attention to. The American people are too addicted to fast, low quality, imported food and making a profit that nothing is bound to change.

Brian B.

Edwards produces stats and figures that show that the agricultural and ranching methods that are taking place in Iowa need to be reversed. The state itself is in trouble due to lack of quality soil left and the quality of their groundwater. This needs to change in order to save the state. Soon farming will almost be impossible because of the bad soil and with the soil revenue for most of the state will be gone as well. With the chemicals that are polluting the groundwater many health issues are soon to arrive and make less people capable of working. The practice that is being question should not be questioned it should just be abolished because of the dangers it poses to the state of Iowa.

Asa Campbell

Mark Edwards raises great points and I agree with most. However, as far as I know, there is no good solution to the issue at hand. Edwards does not help this matter for he puts forth not one solution. The fact of the matter is, there is no good solution. What Iowa is doing, while arguably unhealthy, is the best that they can do and it is keeping him fed. Unless Iowa is willing to drop fast-foods and make producing their own healthy food their core purpose, which will be a very difficult feat to accomplish at this point, Edwards will have to settle for that not-so-authentic tomato sauce.

Samuel Collington

I agree with Mr. Edwards, if Iowa has such great farmland, then it should seize the opportunity. Think of the economic advantages Iowa would get. It seems almost unfair that Iowa is forced to import all their food but now that they have a way out they should take it. However, the people of Iowa will have to work very hard but I think the rewards will outweigh any drawbacks this may cause.


I agree with Edwards in the view that Iowa, and many other rural areas like it, are being stripped of their fertile land and not being paid back for it. Iowa, while it is a larger exporter, imports most of their goods from extremely far away places, and most of it is processed and not even remotely real, unlike the products they export. Iowa farmers are forced to make ends meet by producing their goods and hoping that they sell, when in reality they, and others like them, are the ones selling the real, healthy options unlike the fake, boxed meals they find at their local supermarkets. They sacrifice their time and their goods in return for fatty, processed food? that just doesn't seem right.

Taylor Pfaff

In this article, Edwards discusses the trade of natural resources for chemicals, and artificial products. First, some of our food is coming from out of the country. If that isn't concerning enough, we are essentially "trading our water, land, health and future along with the butterflies, bees, birds and fish for a fast-food meal of meat, cooked in soy oil with authentic Iowa corn syrup tomato sauce on top". The costs of these products are hurting people, animals, and plants. In order to gain a Happy Meal, we are causing harm to all walks of life.

Martin Buuri Kaburia

Nice article Mark Edwards

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