Recipe For Success
STORIES in Agriculture and Life Sciences: Volume 5, Issue 2
Eating is one of the great, shared experiences that tie us all together. You can't ask for a favorite recipe without hearing a story. You'll hear about Nana as well as her sugar cookies. You'll laugh at the retelling of a mother-in-law's reaction to a meal. You'll cry as someone shares the only dish their father could stomach during chemotherapy. You'll hear about huge life events tied to food- weddings, funerals and everything in-between. Food, both eating it and talking about it, is a conduit for connecting to others. So is growing it. This issue highlights some of the work the college is doing in research, education and extension linked to food-growing it, eating it and understanding it. Please don't look at this issue as the main course on food production work at Iowa State- we'd need volumes, not just one issue. Rather, enjoy this sampling featuring a variety of successful people and programs. We've turned the pen over to a few such people and programs. We've turned the pen over to a dew such people in our "Voices" section on page 16 to share their perspectives on food production.
Wallace Huffman studies what drives consumers' decisions on food purchases. A recently published study by the ISU economist found that when given a choice, informed consumers are willing to pay more for genetically modified food that offers health benefits. But the type of modification made a difference. He and his colleagues randomly selected groups of consumers, provided them with information about the experimental foods and asked them to register their preferences by placing bids for all presented foods. Participants offered to pay more, compared to plain produce, for produce with increased nutrients from intragenic modification which uses genes from the same plant species. They weren't willing to pay more for produce enhanced by transgenic modification, which takes genes from other species.
Dakota Hoben is a recognized leader on campus. And it's not just because he was elected president of the Government of the Student Body. With four majors, the senior in agricultural business, international agriculture, economics and political science says he seeks out leadership opportunities to serve others. "If you want to see things change for the better you need to be involved and be in a position of influence," Hoben says. "In any leadership position it's about giving back and as GSB president it's about working for the students." The GSB position was something he pursued after a two-year stint as a GSB senator. He's lightened his student load this year to meet those duties and engage his fellow students. His campaign goals include improving access to funds for student organizations, establishing financial literacy programs and improving dead week policies to reflect the purpose of the week, which is to prepare for final exams.
It's like a delicious cycle. Local growers increase production of fruits and vegetables, consumers appreciate the improved availability and ask for more; growers expand to meet increased demand. The Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative is driving such a cycle in their region by bringing together growers, community members and Iowa State Extension staff who work together to increase access to locally produced foods. The coalition from northeast Iowa was selected as the first pilot group by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture Regional Food System Working Group in 2006. The Working Group is a network of 16 autonomous groups covering the state of Iowa that support local food system efforts.
I am proud to produce quality pork for U.S. and foreign consumers. I take great pride in producing a wholesome, safe product that consumers can buy with confidence. I have had the opportunity to see food production systems all over the world and nothing compares to the U.S. From the farm to the supermarket, all partners involved are striving to have the best product available. Being the fifth generation to live on my farm, I have had the opportunity to improve it and pass it on to my children. Livestock has been a large part of the sustainability of this farm. I raise the corn to feed the pigs that produce the manure to fertilizer the corn- and the cycle repeats itself each season. I live here, drink the water and have raised my kids here.