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by 2008 Terra Madre delegate Ariane Lotti

At Terra Madre, let’s strategize to overcome the challenges to growing a good, clean, and fair agriculture.

After a stint spent working for the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on the 2008 Farm Bill, I decided to spend some quality time in the Ground Zero of government-supported, conventional commodity agriculture: Rural Iowa, USA.

New to the land of corn and Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), I knew my mission was two-fold. I wanted to learn the ins and outs of the system that reportedly produces the cheapest, most abundant food supply in the world. I also wanted to find the points of resistance and weakness where the alternatives to a high-input, low-diversity production agriculture flourish.

For four months, I lived and worked on a farm five miles down a gravel road from the nearest town and eleven miles from the nearest internet connection. While I spent my spare time visiting CAFOs, riding in combines, going to county fairs, and driving down dusty roads, I farmed full-time for Jan Libbey and Tim Landgraf of One Step at a Time Gardens in North Central Iowa.