Guest Post: “Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works” Book Review

This week on the Growing Small Farms listserv (both the list and website are great resources for producers), I saw an interesting review for something that I’ve put on my growing “Must Read” list. William Kruidenier granted permission to repost his review:
Earlier this week I posted a note recommending Atina Diffley’s new book, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works. I confess to having read only the first three-fourths of the book before making that recommendation, but now that I’m finished I have to urge folks to read this book.
The last 20% of the book is the story of the Diffley’s fight against Koch Industries, the largest privately-owned company in America. A subsidiary company of Koch wanted to run a pipeline straight through the Diffley’s certified organic farm. But they hadn’t reckoned with Atina Diffley. This woman is a force of nature. While continuing to run their HUGE organic farm with her husband, she and an attorney marshaled their thousands of local supporters, academicians, land/soil experts, county government officials and others to fight Koch — and they won! The pipeline was not built on their land and great strides were taken in Minnesota to incorporate farms’ Organic Plans into any commercial effort that would negatively impact the operation. Their success had HUGE reverberations throughout the organic farming community in Minnesota, specifically the Twin-Cities area.
Their story will become a case study in how to marshal support from all levels of the farming and academic communities — vertically and horizontally — to protect, sustain, and promote small-farm organic agriculture.
In telling the story of their legal case, Atina summarizes as cogently as I have ever read all the factors surrounding the uniqueness of organic farming: its impact on soil, ecology, food chains, families, and human health.
The Diffleys recently sold their farm, Gardens of Eagen, to a local food co-op that is expanding and continuing the organic heritage the Diffleys spent decades building. Martin and Atina now work as consultants in the organic food and farming arenas.
Read the book — and visit their websites for more info (the web sites are rich in resources):
Their consulting operation: Organic Farming Works is here.
Atina’s personal website (all about her and the book) is here.
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