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
Publisher's note

For our publisher, the late CEO of the Des Moines Waterworks, Bill Stowe, exemplified environmental heroism.
by Jon Andelson
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
Music 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.
Interview

Associate Editor Maya Dru interviewed Des Moines Waterworks CEO Bill Stowe shortly before his untimely death.
by Maya Dru
Editor's note

In a community writing workshop, Rootstalk's Editor discovered a small town's true diversity.
by Mark Baechtel
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
Interview

Here you'll find our audio recording of Maya Dru's interview with the late Bill Stowe, CEO of the Des Moines Water Works.
by Bill Stowe
Memoir

A "rubber band community" is one that, no matter how far away you go, you always want to come back. This retired teacher explains.
by Bridget Brandt
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 head for Davenport, Iowa.
by Tracy Harris
Memoir

There was a time for this retired farmer when Saturday night in his small prairie town was a hot car and someone to race.
by Allan Moyer
Photography

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

This Native American environmental activist draws a direct line between the fossil fuel industry and domestic violence.
by Kandi White
Memoir

A farm is many things: a business, a home, a way of life. For this farmer, it was a thing to share with the whole town.
by Shirley Moyer
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
Feature

This infographic by one of our Associate Editors shows how you can bring prairie back with some hard work and a little know-how.
by Rachel Snodgrass
Memoir

A costume, a pillow case, a couple of friends, and a whole town to roam in: that was Halloween for this coffee shop owner.
by Sam Cox
Photography

This Minnesota photographer has contributed some stunning images to past issues. In this issue, his focus is a critically endangered bird.
by Bruce Leventhal
Personal essay

It's a long way from Iraq's battlefields to running a small town barbershop. But because of a little boy's smile, maybe not so far at that.
by Randall Hotchkin
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
Essay

Your news-feed has probably been full of the bad effects of herbicides. This contributor writes about how to do without them.
by Harriet Behar
Photography

What's the best way to find out how "community" is defined where you live? Ask the local kids to make a mural.
by Kaitie Hess
Memoir

This indistrial designer searched the world over for a world-class professional challenge. He found it in wintery Minnesota.
by Greg Brew
Essay

Want to know how prairie culture has changed? Consult the obituaries in your local paper.
by Mary Kay Shanley
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
Multimedia

In this issue we're publishing a variation on our "Birds of the Prairie" feature. This time, it's "Mammals of the Prairie."
by Bruce Leventhal and Ken Saunders II
Interview

The ability to read and write is far from a simple matter, as Wisconsin scholar Deborah Brandt explains in this interview.
by Deborah Brandt
Podcast

In Rootstalk's fifth podcast, our audio producers talk with Prof. Brandi Janssen about the complexities of sustainaable agriculture.
by Eva Gemrich and Dru Greenwood
Essay

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

Bryan Boyce's Cow Tipping Press is dedicated to bringing the voices of special needs people to a wider audience.
by Bryan Boyce
Essay

How do we reverse the degradation of our prairie home by industrial ag? The residents of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage think they know.
by Joshua Lockyer
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
Closeup

Two artists, born decades apart and working in entirely different mediums, found common ground in prairie wildflowers.
by Cornelia Clarke and Lydia Krueger Curtis
Interview

What does an artist do in a prairie town that doesn't have an arts community? Matt and Sarah Kargol's answer: make one.
by Matt and Sarah Kargol
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
Personal essay

The one-room schoolhouse is a symbol of rural education that's swiftly becoming just a memory, as this writer poignantly reminds us.
by Mary Richarson McBee
Memoir

Musician, journalist, educator with a 40-year career in the arts--our contributor has folded together multiple extraordinary lives.
by Dartanyan Brown
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
Poetry

The poet--an Australian transplant--takes on the autumn's changeable weather and its effect on we who move through it.
by John Grey
Memoir

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

In this article--part interview, part homage--Associate Editor Ethan Evans meditates on how place makes its way into an artist's music.
by Ethan Evans
Essay

During the yearly migration, an astonishing forty-five percent of all North American shorebirds pass through this Kansas marsh.
by Alicia DeHaan
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
Podcast

Wisconsin writer/activist Heather Swan talks with Associate Editor Maya Dru about her love of pollinators.
by Heather Swan
Essay

Blake said we can see the universe in a grain of sand; can we see the prairie expanses of the past in a remnant on an Illinois highway?
by Cindy Crosby
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
Essay

This retired teacher decided to build his replica of the famous Transcendentalist's retreat on his acreage in Minnesota.
by Paul Goodnature
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
Poetry

Not every Midwesterner's youth is a pastoral idyll, as this poet reminds us.
by Gerard Sarnat
Closeup

To depict ecological change in the American landscape, this artist brings together paints, drawing materials and altered photographs.
Essay

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

We're featuring two photographs, both taken at Grinnell College's Conard Environmental Research Area, by our frequent contributor.
by Jun Taek Lee
Book Review

This contributor, a soil scientist, environmental activist and farmer, reviews a new book offering a vision of rural prairie revival.
by Fred Kirschenmann
Personal essay

Interviewing her family, our Associate Editor found that food provided a nucleus for a South Asian community's formation on the prairie.
by Anjali Jain
Photography

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

By any measure, Dartanyan Brown has had a remarkable life. In this issue, we run the second of three parts of his story.
by Dartanyan Brown
Essay

This scholar of Native American culture meditates on the meaning of roots, and the challenge to them represented by energy extraction.
by Sebastian Braun
Paintings

This artist has shared her visions of the prairie landscape in almost every issue of our journal. We're fortunate to feature four more.
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

This photographer--orginally from Hawaii--found inspiration in the autumn prairie fields.
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 perennial contributor's images focus on two types of migration in this issue: human and wildlife.
Photography

This new contributor's images backdrop this issue's table of contents, and intimately depict one of the prairie's most important pollinators
Photography

Vegetables, very tall trees, and roadtrip views are the subject's this first-time contributor provided for this issue.