Iowa: Three Times a Charm

29 Dec
by Deanne

33_aplacetogrowIowa: A Place to Grow was the state motto when Steve and I moved here the first time.  Young and in love, we felt charmed to arrive in a state that had a goal that matched our desires at the start our life together. 

After Steve graduated from Iowa State University,  it was bye, bye Iowa as we returned to his native state, Idaho.  Yet, for some reason, we had a secret desire to raise our kids in Iowa and eventually had a job offer that brought us back.

A call from a headhunter lured us to the land of stone farmhouses and epic national history, Pennsylvania. It was a fun adventure and gave us time to mature professionally and personally.

After 12 years in the Philadelphia metro area and 6 years in rural Minnesota, we have magically appeared in the state again. I say magically because we didn’t seek out a plan to move here. We got a call from a former colleague and one thing led to another.  Voila, we are back.Photo of t-shirt from RAYGUN

If you haven’t been to Iowa you will be surprised to learn that Iowa is not the great fly over, that many east and west coast dwellers assume.  For one thing the state has a sense of humor.  We got a chuckle when we wandered into RAYGUN, a store in the East Village, that has a goal to make people laugh.  They sell  t-shirts that poke fun at what people think of Iowa.

Most people think of Iowa as being a state of mostly soybeans and corn.  This fact is true but Iowa makes up for the lack of diversity in crops with a diversity of ideas about food and food systems.  Just visit the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market to see a sampling of diversity. 

Since arriving, it has been incredibly easy to align our interests of yoga, food and personal growth with like-minded souls.  Here is a re-cap of just a few connections.

In September we were invited to a Yoga on the Farm event at PepperHarrow Farm. There, in addition to yoga, we toured the farm and ate awesome food.  Check out all the photos by photographer, Drew Maifeld.


During the month of November I attended a conference from an organization called Women Food andPhoto of Sonia Kendrick Agriculture.  There I met a woman who was tired of hearing people brag about how Iowa feeds the world and started an organization called Feed Iowa First.  The founder is a veteran who recognized that even here, in the land of plenty, our current food system is not working and many go hungry.  

In early December, I had a chance to attend Tedx Des Moines Women. This re-cap by a fellow attendee will fill you in on that awesome event.  It wasn’t about food but I did meet people from Dress For Success Des Moines. I hope to us my coaching skills and volunteer as a mentor in 2014.


The bottom line about Iowa is that somehow we haven’t gotten in right yet.  Iowa is calling us back to grow some more before she lets us sail away into the sunset. 


5 Responses to “Iowa: Three Times a Charm”

  1. Mary Jane December 29, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    Does it feel like it has been 34 years since you first landed in Iowa? Where has the time gone? Happy Anniversary today! Loved your post today. Ever since I visited Iowa the first time it has held my heart as the place to be.

    • realocalcooking December 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

      Thanks for the Anniversary wish! It doesn’t seem that long for sure.

  2. Rachel January 1, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    I don’t know much about Iowa (except sweet Francine being from there, which instantly makes me assume it is a fantastic place), but happened upon a book I really ended up enjoying that took place there (true story), called Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America. If you’re looking for a new read, I’d definitely recommend it. Good luck in your new-old home!

    • realocalcooking January 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

      Hi Rachel, Thanks for your kind comments about Francine. She is an Iowa farm girl at heart due to the few years she lived on a farm here. I will check out that book you mentioned. Hope you are surviving the weather on the East Coast!


  1. New World Cafe: Des Moines, IA | Real Local Good - a mother and a daughter learn about real food, local food and cooking food - March 19, 2014

    […] on a lazy Saturday morning is brewing on an upcoming weekend. Many people I have met since moving to town have an affinity for this place and I can see the appeal. Who won’t want to eat at a place […]

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