Where other farmers sell grain, I sell soil, attractively packaged in ornamental coffins. Though this is the middle of Iowa, urban hipsters drive hours to buy it — “Heated, not treated, to remove Monsanto’s seed.” They pose for pictures next to my two-story tractor. I dress the part and don’t mention the ground-penetrating radar, how it shows me all the lies of the land as I drive my specially modified harvester. Instead, I talk about the healing properties of a mud mask, especially when it cracks in midsummer to let in the sun. My Lithuanian grandmother swore by it! When the soil is gone, will I sell rocks, they want to know. No, I want to say, I will sell the empty space to you to put all your goddamn garbage in. It’ll be the last landfill you’ll ever need. Instead I laugh and say in my best hick drawl: This here’s Iowa loess, son. Ain’t nothing but soil all the way down.
Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).