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Vast farmlands of a monocrop cover 89% of Iowa.

One of these bears tall, green stalks, with sweet, yellow


kernels, and within, a starchy taste. In this state grows the one crop that rules the industrial food chain: corn. Corn
is in every processed and packaged food you can think of. Consumers have been deceived because of the hundreds
of ingredients with bizarre, unrecognizable names made of corn. But corn isnt only in processed foods- it's also
found in meats. Chicken and cow feed are both made with cheap corn. Therefore, the eggs you eat and the milk you
drink all have traces of the very corn grown in Iowa. Corn has significantly and detrimentally conquered America,
making the citizens unhealthier, and causing farmers to go bankrupt, but, by buying produce from local farms like
Polyface, Americans can support human and environmentally friendly causes.

Rich Fields, Poor Farmers, as Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivores Dilemma, accurately describes
farms. The Industrial Food Chain has drained farmers of their hard-earned money, while huge agri-businesses
thrive at their losses. Industrial farmers such as George Naylor suffer from lack of payment. Although he owns 470
acres of land devoted to corn, Naylor can hardly pay his own bills. The government can be held responsible for this
epidemic of bankruptcy. The government chose to keep the price of corn low. It takes George Naylor $2.50 to grow
one bushel of corn, the cost including the seed, fertilizer, pesticide, and gas used to drive the tractor. Despite this,
he only makes $1.45 for that same bushel. This means he loses more than a dollar for every bushel of corn he sells.
The reason farmers like George Naylor can manage to survive is due to a check Naylor gets, called a subsidy check,
from the United States government. From 1995 to 2006, $177.6 billion were paid to farmers in subsidies. While

cheap foods like a dollar menu at McDonalds might seem like good deal, citizens have already paid the price in
taxes. Over $50 billion in taxes have been paid to 1.5 million farmers over the course of twelve years. So in
actuality, you are paying the full price for a burger, if not more. But even these subsidies arent enough to pay
George Naylors bills. Luckily, his wife has a stable job off the farm to support their family. George Naylor has
another conflict too: He cant stop farming corn since the government only pays for corn, and not vegetables. The
only way George can survive when prices drop is simply to farm more bushels of corn. Its a vicious circle, Michael
Pollan states.
Surprisingly in the United States, 60% of adults in America are overweight, while 20% of those adults are
obese. Before the influx of child obesity, Type 2 diabetes was formerly known as adult-onset diabetes.
Unfortunately, adult-onset diabetes has affected enough children that it has since been renamed to Type 2
diabetes. According to Michael Pollans The Omnivores Dilemma, from 1971 to 1974, childhood obesity rates in
the United States were at 5.8%. By the early 21st century, childhood obesity has affected more than three times
that number. People can explain to the public that its the lack of exercise, or addiction to the television. But while
these are all valid explanations, the real reason behind Americas expanding waistline is the addition of fatty,
processed foods. In 1985, the average American consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) was 45 pounds
annually. By 2006, 13 pounds were added on to the total, along with many other sweeteners such as cane sugar,
honey, and beet. Not only is HFCS in soda and desserts, but ketchup, mustard, bread, cereals, all contain HFCS.
Another factor in Americas obesity problem is supersized foods. In the 1950s, a man named David Wallerstein
worked for a movie theater that sold snacks. Wallerstein struggled to get customers to buy more popcorn. He
finally found a solution: increasing the amount of popcorn per bag. One of the realizations Wallerstein had was that
people would rather buy one large bag than two smaller bags. When Wallerstein reached out to McDonalds to
propose his idea, the company founder refused. But when the founder accepted, McDonalds sales rose sharply.
Consumers didnt feel guilty about eating more food since it only came as one serving. As a result, more people in
America bought McDonalds, and the waistline expanded with the sales. As Americans got more obese, food
corporations polluted and ruined food for humans. Nonetheless, there are still farmers who can help Americans
from the obesity issues.
Joel Salatin is truly an organic farmer. He avoids the use of fossil fuels on his farm, while also trying to
make the food as natural as possible. On Polyface farm, Joel Salatin uses his biodiversity of crops and animals to his
advantage. Joels first step in the cycle on Polyface farm is to move cattle to different grass fields. Cows indeed have
a symbiotic relationship with the grass. The cows on Polyface will eat the grass but leave enough leaf for it to
survive, and recover. The cattle will spread their manure on the previous fields that they have fed on, that fertilizes
the new grasses to come. This means the beef that Joel produces isnt made up of industrial corn, rather, its made
up of grass. Three days later, chickens arrive to feed on the same grass that the cows have, and the chickens
fertilize the grass with their droppings. These chickens also feed on the worms, grasshoppers, and crickets they
find. Similar to the cows, Joel moves the chickens to make sure grass fields stay rich and plentiful. Unlike industrial
fields, Moving animals from pasture to pasture is one of the reasons Polyface farms fields have stayed lush and
green. Not only does Polyface raise cows and chickens, but Polyface has added rabbits to the cycle. The rabbits on
the farm live out their lives in cages suspended over a deep bedding of wood chip. Earthworms live in the wood
chips, and when the hens are loose searching for food, they scratch at the wood chips. Shredded wood chips and

rabbit urine make valuable compost for Polyface. In addition to rabbits, turkeys are also raised. Joel places the
Gobbledy-Go (another portable home) in the orchard at Polyface. The turkeys eat the grass, rid the pests, and
fertilize the vines and trees. Joel gets two crops off of the same piece of land, making his farm quite efficient. During
Winter, the Polyface farm cycle doesnt stop yet. In the cow barn, cows eat 25 pounds of hay each day, producing 50
pounds of manure. Joel leaves the manure where it is, and in 3 days time, he puts a layer of wood chips over it.
Over the course of the season, the manure and woodchip begin the decay, creating heat in the barn. However, Joel
adds one more ingredient to the layers of manure and woodchip: fermenting corn. Corn ferments over the Winter,
and turns into alcohol. When the cows go back to their pastures in Spring, the pigs use their powerful snouts to dig
up the fermented corn. This useful source of compost is dug up by the pigs, and used on the fields to grow even
more grass. In a way, the pigs are doing the work at Polyface. By using this cycle, Joel can provide the best quality of
food without the uses of pesticides and fertilizers.

Joel Salatin once said, Know your food, know your farmers, and know your kitchen. In modern America,
most citizens have no idea where their food is coming from. They are nave in the sense of the irrealization of the
true abundance of corn in our culinary system, or that industrial meat is fed cheap corn. Although corn has greatly
impacted America by lowering health standards for citizens while farmers go bankrupt, Polyface farm is truly a step
forward in cultivating America.