Life in Iowa can be punishing. Many Iowans expend their lives sweating over soil and spilling the blood of livestock; they endure the hardships associated with a life inextricably bound to the ups and downs of nature. Today, those challenges and a shift in our nation’s economy have pushed the youth of rural communities to migrate to the metropolises of America. Those left in the wake of this out-migration continue their lives, seemingly unchanged from the generations that preceded them, and entombed in obscurity.
The tension of contemporary rural life plays out here: the struggle of a family farm to continue, disenfranchised youth, the slaughterhouse, migrant labor, and the aged fading from Iowa’s mythical landscape. Through their stories we gain insight to a way of life that is disappearing, a culture that could be lost forever.
As “community” continues to be homogenized in zones of urban sprawl across the globe, we must consider all that we are losing—development should not come at the expense of more fragile communities.