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Eureka organic-farming pioneer will speak at Robert Trail Library

Eureka Township resident Atina Diffley operated Gardens of Eagan along with her husband Martin until 2008, when they sold the name to The Wedge Co-Op.

For nearly 30 years, just up Highway 3 from Rosemount, Atina and Martin Diffley sold vegetables from their roadside stand in Eagan. Many of their customers drove up from Rosemount for their fresh, organic fare.

The couple started their organic farm, Gardens of Eagan in 1973 and continued to sell fresh produce from the Highway 3 stand through 2007. Atina and Martin sold their farm operation, which had moved to the Lakeville area, to The Wedge Co-Op in 2008.

Atina Diffley published her memoir, "Turn Here, Sweet Corn," recounting more than three decades of their lives together as organic farmers, first in Eagan and then in Eureka Township. The book also shares their family's quest to protect their family farm against development and Koch Industries.

Atina said the story is about relationships and raises a lot of questions about land development, where our food comes from and what as communities we want to protect. It also shares Atina and Martin's love story.

"Storytelling is powerful. When you write about something that's true and personal it gives the reader a jolt," said Atina.

Atina will speak about her book and farming experiences at 6:30 p.m. March 19 at the Robert Trail Library and she's hoping to see some familiar faces in the audience. She will have copies of the book available.

Atina said Martin will be there too. Martin attended Rosemount High School and lived in the area most of his life. Atina said he has an amazing memory for the history of the area and its agricultural roots.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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