Atina's Blog

What is a Farm? A Synthesis of the Land, People, and Business.

Reflections, tips, and decision making tools from organic farmer-author Atina Diffley

Turn Here Sweet Corn Dialog On Urban Planning

I am very happy to write that my recently published memoir, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works, is stimulating dialogue —as I had hoped! I am receiving wonderful emails from readers with discussion and comments about land use planning. Please keep them coming. A Star Tribune article, Hey, soil sister: Atina Diffley, by reporter…

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Taking A Book From Concept To Class To Publication—Trusting The Process.

Writing my first book had many parallels to vegetable farming—especially growing onions; and legal battles—like with the Koch brothers. Managing The Process If I think about the entire process, from farm dream to food on the table—access to land, learning skills and developing markets, buying supplies, HOEING; or what it will take to win in…

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John Steinbeck’s Journal

For those of you who enjoyed my blog post, I “Wish” No More, about my childhood, self-inflicted intimation of the writing skills of Steinback. Excerpt from John Steinbeck’s journals while he was working on Grapes of Wrath. March 21 My many weaknesses are starting to show their heads. I simply must get this thing out…

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First Spring Flush Of Weeds

Weed Excerpts — Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works We go through the motions, planting like we expect a good soaker, but it is too dry even for weeds to germinate. The first corn sets tassels on two-feet-tall stalks. We keep plants alive with water from a tank, but only the watermelons and tomatoes…

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Stepping Into The Perspective Of Another

Subscribe to Atina’s Blog During a recent interview, I was asked why I choose to write Turn Here Sweet Corn as a personal story. I explained that I wanted the reader to feel the characters’ experience. The intellect is involved with understanding the issues, but the heart needs to be engaged for behavior to change.…

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“I Wish” No More–Study For Skill Development

Before I could read—I was a “writer.” Flashlight, paper, and pencil in hand, I’d drag my favorite blanket into my bedroom closet and there in the privacy of my hanging clothes, I covered countless pages with fantastic swirls and lines. I had no doubt. I was a writer. Learning to read Dick and Jane posed no…

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Taking Care Of The “Me” In “We.”

An “Organic Relationship Plan” Starts With Ourselves. I am preparing an all day workshop for Land Stewardship Project called Quality of Life Workshop: Systems and Communication Tools for a Healthy Farm Partnership. This workshop was inspired by common themes that have challenged many of my clients as well as my own experiences running Gardens of…

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Winter Squash

History: Squash appears to have originated in Mexico around 8,000 B.C. From there it spread through North and South America. Originally squash had bitter flesh and its food value/use was the seeds. Over time squash was bred with sweeter flesh and became a staple part of many tribes diets. Squash was introduced to the Old…

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Freezing Tomatoes Tomatoes are easily frozen in many forms. They must be used in cooked food after freezing. Simply core and quarter, throw into a freezing bag and freeze.Use as is in soups and stews. Tomato sauce can be frozen as is. Dried Tomatoes Ideally use a food dryer, as tomatoes are so moist, sun…

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Sweet Corn

History: Originally wild in Central America, Maize has flourished in the hands and souls of indigenous Americans for the last 8,000 years. From birth through death, the economic, social, and religious activities of many Native Americans were bound to the growing of maize. Maize was brought to Europe by Columbus, readily accepted, and from there…

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History: The potato as we know it today, is the result of thousands of years of selection and cross breeding of wild potato species. It appears to have first been cultivated 4,000 to 7,000 years ago in the Andes mountains between Bolivia and Peru. From there it spread through South America and became a wide…

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Flavor – Growing Vegetables

I recently received an email from writer Deborah Madison asking, “What do you think makes for good flavor in vegetables? Why is it the organic carrots I buy from my dearly-loved co-op are nearly tasteless, and the gnarly old things I pull out of my garden is delicious?” A book could be (and is needed)…

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