A master class in organic farming, a lesson in entrepreneurship, a love story, and a legal thriller
Minneapolis, MN — Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works by Atina Diffley is not your typical family farm “lost way of life” memoir. Instead it tells the dramatic success story of a sophisticated organic family farm from the voice of a female farmer, whose connection to the land is born deeply of knowing it, working it, living and suffering by it. In telling her story of working the land, coaxing good food from the fertile soil, Atina Diffley reminds us of an ultimate truth: we live in relationships—with the earth, plants and animals, families and communities.
A memoir of making these essential relationships work in the face of challenges as natural as weather and as unnatural as corporate politics, her book is a firsthand history of getting in at the “ground level” of organic farming. One of the first certified organic produce farms in the Midwest, the Diffleys’ Gardens of Eagan helped to usher in a new kind of green revolution in the heart of America’s farmland, supplying their roadside stand and a growing number of local food co-ops. This is a story of a world transformed—and reclaimed—one square acre at a time.
And yet, after surviving punishing storms and the devastating loss of fifth-generation Diffley family land to suburban development, the Diffleys faced the ultimate challenge: the threat of eminent domain for a crude oil pipeline proposed by one of the largest privately owned companies in the world, notorious polluters Koch Industries. As Atina Diffley tells her David-versus-Goliath tale, she gives readers everything from expert instruction in organic farming to an entrepreneur’s manual on how to grow a business to a legal thriller about battling corporate arrogance to a love story about a single mother falling for a good, big-hearted man.
Atina Diffley is an organic vegetable farmer who now educates consumers, farmers, and policymakers about organic farming through the consulting business Organic Farming Works LLC, owned by her and her husband, Martin. From 1973 through 2007, the Diffleys owned and operated Gardens of Eagan, one of the first certified organic produce farms in the Midwest. To contact Atina or Martin Diffley, visit http://www.organicfarmingworks.com.
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Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works
By Atina Diffley
Available: April 2012, University of Minnesota Press
344 pp., 6 x 9, 1 b/w illustration, 5 b/w plates, 29 color plates
ISBN: 978-0-8166-7771-9, $24.95 hardcover