Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Opinion

February 14, 2014

Another View - Breaking Bad in Iowa

Knoxville — My View today leans heavily on one Kamyar Enshayan.  He teaches at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and I know him through his work with Practical Farmers of Iowa, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State, and the Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign.  In fact, Enshayan has led in bringing local food to local sites – schools, hospitals and restaurants.

His essay “Breaking Bad in Iowa” was inspired by the TV series “Breaking Bad.”  As most of you know, the series was about a high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, N.M., who, when stricken with a terminal cancer, sought to assure his family’s financial future by teaming up with a student drug dealer and marketing methamphetamine.  

Breaking bad!  Inspired by that, and by his knowledge of Iowa’s horrible meth trade, Enshayan asked some friends over coffee, “What enterprise in Iowa would parallel the tragedy in 'Breaking Bad'?”  To his surprise they came back as one naming “commodity agriculture” and the network of global corporations that make it work.   

We see effects of that all around us.  For instance, here’s one that commodity agriculture helped create. Where schools and churches and stores used to support a thriving small town we now often see nothing – or a Rural History Buff sign like “Site of Old Town Wheeling.”   The corn and soy beans still grow but in larger and larger fields with the profits going to larger and larger corporations far away from Marion County.  “Sociologists and economists report that markets in nearly every agricultural sector (corn, beans, beef, …) are all controlled by a handful of global corporations, leaving farmers as price takers while production expenses rise.”  Small amounts of profit stay local; small farmers and farm workers have moved away to find a way to make a living. 

Text Only
Opinion
  • The Rules of the Road By Jill Pertler I do not consider myself an excellent driver. I am good, or maybe just okay - around a B-minus to a C-plus if I were giving out grades. I am not great at maneuvering into tight parking spaces or knowing when it is my turn at a four-wa

    March 21, 2014

  • Steve mug Creativity rules! I've noticed as a married man that there are times in our marriages when it is just nice to be right. Take for instance Monday night. By the time I got home from the council meeting, I was pretty hungry. I didn't grab anything to eat before my evenin

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Frankford mug Acute Temporary Comfort Rejection Syndrome By Phillip Frankford Acute Temporary Comfort Rejection Syndrome

    March 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shivvers pic 21st century overwhelm, beginning with shampoo I was in a hurry and needed only one more item at the grocery store. Shampoo. I wanted shampoo to wash my hair. But I found a hazard course - and couldn't remember how I got through the last time. What should I do? Would it be simple "anti-itch liqui

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Next time ... To the Editor: While surfing my Facebook page, I came across this message: "I Shall Continue To Do What I think Is Right Whether Anybody Likes It Or Not." -Harry S. Truman. After reading this quote, I decided to tell my experience. I was walking to m

    March 21, 2014

  • Protecting Iowa's children A topic that most Iowans prefer not to acknowledge nor discuss is human trafficking. However, it is a serious matter in our society that we can no longer afford to ignore. With the I-80 and I-35 corridors that crisscross our state - and the I-29 corr

    March 6, 2014

  • Letter: Disagrees with Shivvers To the Editor: I read, with interest, Ms. Shivvers' comments in her opinion piece "Another View-Breaking Bad in Iowa" in the Feb. 14, 2014, edition of the Knoxville Journal-Express. It is the first time I have heard today's agriculture compared to th

    March 6, 2014

  • Slices of Life: Things we should do more often By Jill Pertler Live. Love. Laugh. Stop and smell the roses. See the glass as half full. Shoot for the moon. There are the familiar (cliché) activities we know we should engage in more often. But, for those of us not wanting to be cliché, there are

    March 6, 2014

  • Letter to the Editor-Bravo To the Editor: I'd like to take a moment and say, "Bravo!" to Charlotte Shivvers for her insightful column of February 14, "Another View - Breaking Bad in Iowa." Speaking truth to power happens rarely these days and when it does, it's cause for celeb

    February 27, 2014

  • Frankford mug Another Log on the Fire: Highs and Lows By Phillip Frankford I've heard it said that the mark of a good story teller is the ability to take the listener or reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions. He or she will abruptly lead the way from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in a

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo

Features
AP Video
At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women New York Police End Muslim Surveillance Program Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions T. Rex Gets New Home at Smithsonian Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Which service of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce do you believe is most beneficial for its membership?

Events
Legislative lobbying
Promotional material publication
Educational programs for the community
Other
     View Results