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Documentary chronicles Iowans' fight for local farms amid economic uncertainty and climate change

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

Rural Americans have higher rates of depression, and farmers are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population, according to the National Rural Health Association.

Greener Pastures, a documentary that premieres this week on Iowa PBS, looks at the mental health and substance abuse struggles faced by four farming families across the Midwest as they tackle climate change, industrialization and economic uncertainty. Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe talks with filmmakers Samuel-Ali Mirpoorian and Ian Robertson Kibbe.

Also in this episode, Nebbe talks with music promoter Sam Summers of First Fleet Concerts and Hinterland Music Festival about his renovation and reopening of the Val Air Ballroom in West Des Moines. The Val Air has hosted many events since its opening as an outdoor dance venue in the 1939. Nebbe discusses the building's historical significance, its recent restoration process and how it fits into Iowa's live entertainment scene today.


  • Samuel-Ali Mirpoorian, director and producer, Greener Pastures
  • Ian Robertson Kibbe, producer, Greener Pastures
  • Sam Summers, Val Air Ballroom owner and music promoter

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health challenges or suicidal thoughts, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline can help - call or text 988.

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.