Prairie Culture
Local History

This Amana Colonies historian spent over 33 years at the helm of a small Iowa Museum. It was time well spent.
Essay

Can Midwestern farmers stop the steady loss of their most precious possession--their topsoil? This writer says yes, they can.
by Frederick L. Kirschenmann
Local History

On Wednesdays, when Shirley Springer’s dad shut the door of the drugstore in Garwin, Iowa, the best part of the week was about to begin.
by Frank Heath
Paintings

This painter found inspiration for her triptych in one of the Midwest's most common sights: a cornfield.
Essay

A public utility takes on big Ag in the fight for clean water.
by William G. Stowe
Essay

Twenty-five years from now, will fertile agricultrural landscapes look the way they look today?
Essay

Our correspondent reports on the efforts of prairie ranchers like her to bring bison back to their pastures.
by Kayla Koether
Essay

Professor John Ikerd's love for rural communities has led him to ask some difficult questions.
by John Ikerd
Essay

Traditional Lakota governance has much to teach modern organizations and businesses.
by Craig Howe & Abe Katz
Essay

If our political leaders are really serious about STEM, they need a new approach.
by Kamyar Enshayan
Interview

Linda Omaña, a member of our editorial staff, sat down with the photographer when he was on Grinnell College’s campus.
by Linda Omaña
Mixed-media

In this closeup, we focus on a central Minnesota artist who uses multiple media to explore place, gender, and history.
Book Review

A college biology professor gives us her review of Cornelia Mutel's new book, A Sugar Creek Chronicle.
by Eizabeth J. Queathem
Poetry

A Kentucky poet describes the union of body, emotion and landscape he finds on the prairie.
by Ethan Starr Evans
Essay

Ag giant Prestage came to Mason City, promising to transform its economy. The author, a City Councilman, describes what happened next.
by John P. Lee
Memoir

In this memoir, the writer, formerly a bus driver for Iowa State University, chronicles a day in his life. It wasn't always a happy ride.
Interview

Our editors interviewed "Rosa Jimenez" about her experiences living as an undocumented immigrant in a small Iowa community.
Essay

In the course of conducting an ethnographic study, Lane Atmore found the utopian ideal is alive and well in Fairfield, Iowa .
by Lane Atmore
Interview

A conversation between Rootstalk editor Emma Thomasch and residents of the Mayflower retirement community.
by Emma Thomasch
Short story

Florida-based writer Todd Kincaid has given us a short story detailing a rabbit hunt on the prairie.
by Todd Kincaid
Feature

Quilts aren't just for beds. Our correspondent shows us how they're warming up the rural landscape, too.
by Janet Carl
Feature

Janet Schlapkohl dramatized the farm crisis of the 80s in her one-woman show.
Local History

Historian Dan Kaiser found a landmark building in American industrial architecture in his small Iowa town.
by Dan Kaiser
Essay

Dr. Laura Jackson believes the fate of the threatened Monarch Butterfly is tied inextricably to the fate of agriculture on the prairie.
by Laura J. Jackson
Closeup

Artist Thomas Agran took an unexpected landscape for his subject: the convulsed earth of a construction site that had once been a farm.
Essay

The FarmHouse at Hickory Highlands in Fairfield, Iowa looks as if it sprang out of the earth it sits on. That's because it did.
by John Freeberg
Podcast

In this issue, audio producers Sonia Chulaki and Marie Kolarik talk with writer and environmentalist Cornelia Mutel.
by Audio producers Sonia Chulaki, Noah Herbin and Marie Kolarik
Essay

Last summer, native Californian Mary Rose Bernal "farm-sat," and found country life hard, sweaty, itchy and surprisingly...happy.
by Mary Rose Bernal
Photography

The work of this Connecticut-based photographer has frequently found its way onto our pages. Take a look at his work to see why.
Interview

Veterinarian Art Dunham's concern for his patients made him a world-renowned expert on the effects of Roundup herbicide on our environment.
by Jon Andelson, Mary Rose Bernal and Mark Baechtel
Video

Think moonshine is a thing of the past? Not so much. Watch a batch cook in this video taken on an Iowa farm.
by Isabel Kugel and Emily Mamrak
Essay

Our regular contributor is hooked on the prairie's grasses. Here's how it happened.
by Sandy Moffett
Short story

This fiction writer took prairie graveyards as her inspiration in these short pieces.
by Molly Rideout
Photography

Our regular contributor gave us an image of the Conard Environmental Research Area in high summer.
Photography

For this issue, our regular contributor focused his camera on two butterfly species and a quartet of "Birds of the Prairie."
Photography

This photographer, used to taking pictures of the crowded streetscapes of home, tries his hand at the prairie.
Digital Art

It's a deceptively simple question. Our associate editor created an infographic to provide the not-so-simple answer.
by Cecilia Bergman
Podcast

With his interview of Des Moines Waterworks CEO, our audio producer debuts our new podcast feature.
by Noah Herbin
Essay

In this feature, a respected Drake University biologist traces the eons through which the prairie region's plantforms evolved.
by Thomas Rosburg
Review

The Pines' music is as rooted in their prairie home as a field of coneflowers. Read our reviewer's thoughts, then give a listen.
by Kelly Hansen Maher
Interview

Everyone thinks "corn" when they think of the Midwest. Maybe they should be thinking: "mushrooms." Our interviewer talks to the experts.
by Sonia Chulaki
Essay

Women are coming into farming in increasing numbers. As they do, they're changing the way we think about agriculture.
by Sophie Neems
Local History

Though a closeted gay man during a less tolerant time, in the 1920s, Ralph Lorenzo Warner helped preserve a more gracious Midwest era.
by Will Fellows
Interview

Spending her life as a farmer hasn't kept Chris Gaunt from fighting for social justice, as our interviewer found.
by Tapiwa Zvidzwa
Interview

The prairie is a long way from the front lines in the fight with ISIS. Our interviewee brings the refugee experience home.
by Miriam Tibbetts
Essay

What do rural Iowa and small-town Norway have in common? Plenty, as it turns out. An Iowa Fulbright Scholar explains.
by John Lawrence Hanson
Essay

Is farmwork also social activism? It was for our correspondent, during an internship at Mustard Seed Community Farm.
by Tristan Aschittino
Paintings

An Alaska-based artist turned her eye on the prairie during an artist's residency. The result: two paintings, featured in this issue.
Photography

This photographer's images explore the tension between people and the land they inhabit.
Essay

Urban gardens need pollinators, but where do the bees come from amid all that concrete? Enter Jana Kinsman.
by Sara Arena
Dance

The nationwide celebration of our waterways comes to the prairie.
Personal essay

Iowa Poet Laureate Mary Swander lives in a converted country schoolhouse. She decided a schoolhouse needs a bell, and a belltower.
by Mary Swander
Editor's note

Our other editor for this issue, a native of New York state, also unlearned many of her prejudices before she came to treasure the prairie.
by Emma Thomasch
Essay

What's an East Coast transplant to do when she doesn't feel she fits in the Midwest? Fill a car with friends and hit the road.
by Tracy Harris
Photography

This photographer is a compusive creator whose main complaint about the Midwest prairie is its absence of waterfalls.
Essay

In Toledo, Iowa, a venerable old theatre was a place for townspeople to restore their spirits. Now they're returning the favor.
by Abigail Evans
Personal essay

Mary Swander's Amish neighbor, Joe, places her new belltower over the entryway of her Amish schoolhouse/home.
by Mary Swander
Essay

Where can you find the essential Iowa? Not in a single place, as this writer found, on the road with his father and a van full of friends.
by Colin Lewis-Beck
Essay

In this essay, a Georgia-based writer shares her introduction to the prairie's wild beauty.
by Mariah Manoylov
Podcast

In the first of two podcasts in this issue, plant scientist Lee DeHaan discusses the new perennial grain, Kernza.
by Audio producer Noah Herbin
Personal essay

With the bell and belltower in place, Mary Swander can summon the neighbor children for pie...
by Mary Swander
Essay

Our first contributor from Canada tells how a piece of prairie history was preserved in northern Alberta.
by Jennifer Mueller
Local History

Anthropologist Don Janzen examines his own background in his essay about his father's homesteading childhood in early 20th century Kansas.
by Don Janzen
Local History

How could a hunk of rock buried on a college campus have so much history attached to it? This woodworker/amateur historian tells us.
by Byron Hueftle-Worley
Essay

When you move into an old house in a small town, you inherit that house's history and, sometimes, its former residents.
by Sam Pérez
Memoir

When this Minnesota writer's family farm became a regional park, she kept her family memories.
by Michele Brennhofer
Photography

Keith Kozloff discovered a trove of his old black-and-white negatives from the 1970s in an old shoe box. Take a look at this selection.
by Keith Kozloff
Poetry

This poet turns to a pair of Iowa icons--a Grant Wood painting and the quadaennial caucuses--to evoke the quiet behind the image.
by Bill Graeser
Podcast

Audio producers Noah Herbin and Eva Gemrich interview University of Iowa Prof David Osterberg about CAFOs.
by Audio producers Noah Herbin and Eva Gemrich
Essay

A small-town restaurant is where the local foods movement gets real.
by Ann P. Hall
Photography

This Twin-cities photographer looked south for the images in this Closeup, to the small Iowa town of Belomond.
Music

An Iowa writer, musician and dramatist captures the plight of many small prairie towns in this song.
Photography

Our frequent contributor's lens found Keokuk's iconic power station on the Mississippi River for this issue.
Photography

This first-time contributor's photo makes use of a familiar Midwestern setting: the shorn cornfield.
Photography

John Lawrence Hanson contributed a photo to this issue. We ran his essay "Obedience and Resistance" in Volume III, Issue 2, Spring 2017.
Personal essay

While writer Betty Moffett's husband Sandy works at prairie restoration, she cultivates a different kind of relationship with the land.
by Betty Moffett
Photography

Two of our perrenial contributor's images focus on two types of migration in this issue: human and wildlife.
Photography

This issue's table of contents is backdropped by this new contributor's image of a perfect prairie day.