Turn Here Sweet Corn, by Atina Diffley

September 16, 2012

Atina Diffley and her husband are organic farmers in Minnesota. Her book contains three stories in one. First is a very lyrical account of the life of the soil. A second story is about the family that lives on the land: the Diffley children, who make their hideouts in the fields and woods; the coyotes that gather around their house when the family moves in; the marriage that’s woven in and out of a mutual love for sun, rain and soil. The final story begins with a notice received from the MinnCan Project, operated by Koch Pipeline Com­pany (yes, it’s owned by the politically influential Koch brothers), announcing that the company has filed applications to install a crude-oil pipeline through the Diffleys’ fields. Atina Diffley’s account of her efforts to fight the pipeline and of the long-term repercussions of that effort is as well written as the rest of the book.

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