Terra Brockman's Writings

Page Name

"The Seasons on Henry's Farm"

Terra Brockman's book "The Seasons on Henry's Farm"

Through closely observed natural phenomena and engagingly told stories, The Seasons on Henry’s Farm takes readers deep inside the world of a small-scale farmer, and in so doing, opens a window into what sustainable farming really entails and why it is vital and relevant to everyone who eats.

Henry's Farm, run by Henry Brockman, is in central Illinois—some of the richest farming land in the world. There, he and his family—five generations of farmers, including sister Terra, the author—have bucked traditional agribusiness thinking by farming in a way that's sensible, sustainable, and focused on producing healthy, nutritious food in ways that don't despoil the land.

Terra Brockman tells the story of her family in the form of a year-long memoir—with recipes—that takes readers through each season of life on the farm. Studded with vignettes, digressions, photographs, and family stories, the book is a one-of-a-kind treasure that will appeal to readers of Michael Pollan, E.B. White, Gretel Ehrlich, and Sandra Steingraber.

Though rooted in the rolling oak-hickory hills and fertile fields and flood plains of the Mackinaw River Valley, the book ranges widely, incorporating literary, scientific, and culinary reflections occasioned by the week-by-week events of farm life.

Brockman has created a mindful and mouthwatering invitation to eat great food grown by people near you who love the land. This is a book for everyone who cares about the food we eat, the land we live on, and the environment that sustains us.

James Beard Award Medal

"Seasons" was one of three finalists for the 2010 James Beard Award in the writing and literature category

Praise for "Seasons"

This is by far the most informative and earnest of the back-to-the-land memoirs; . . . It’s a sober, cleareyed assessment of what needs to get done, when, how and why. . . . By the time spring arrived, I was eyeing my suitcase and seriously contemplating a stint as an intern.
Dominique Browning, Sunday New York Times Book Review, June 6, 2010

If you’re hungry for a morsel of delicious farm writing, sit back and savor this. Terra Brockman is … by turns farm writer, poet, philosopher and darned good cook.
Barbara Mahany, Chicago Tribune

A delightful synergy of poetic inspiration and realistic descriptions of life on a farm. Here is the joy and satisfaction of growing garlic, raising turkeys, tending fruit trees, and growing vegetables.
At the same time every farmer/gardener can relate to the graphic description of the complexity and difficulty of producing these same foods, and to the fact that ‘nothing is perfect, nothing lasts, and nothing is ever finished.’ The appearance of this inspiring book could not be more timely.
Frederick Kirschenmann,  president, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Buy it from us!

(plus $3.00 in the US for shipping and handling)

Terra's Columns and Articles

In Zester Daily

Zester Daily is an award-winning online compendium covering "the culture of food and drink."   With breaking news, compelling features, unique recipes, and provocative opinion pieces written by a broad spectrum of authors, chefs, and food world leaders, Zester Daily is the great place to expand your culinary horizons. Here's a link to Zester Daily's list of all of Terra's columns.

In Edible Chicago

Edible Chicago is a quarterly print magazine that celebrates local foods and connects readers with Chicago's unique food culture. 

In Christian Century

Access beyond the column teaser requires a $2.95 subscription to its print publication. Here's a link to a list of all of Terra's columns including single sentence descriptions of each. Except for those with an asterisk (*), links in the list below lead to each column's teaser.


Other Articles and Columns

Mother Earth News

Civil Eats


Farm Fresh Now features the back story and a quick and easy recipe for 26 different vegetables.

Print Articles

The Community Word, February 1, 2016, Award to Farmer Harold Wilken

The Chicago Tribune Op-Ed, July 30, 2015, Plastic Bag Ban

Peoria Journal Star, April 17, 2015, Remembering Scott Bittner: A good man and feeder of the people

Peoria Journal Star, Feb 28, 2010, Spotlight Op-Ed

More Magazine, December 11, 2009, Romancing the Farm

Peoria Journal Star, December 6, 2009, Don't Hide the Alleged Dangers of Atrazine

Chicago Tribune, November 18, 2009, Sweet potato season: One farm's harvest leads to a 'cure' of fine tubers for the table

Peoria Journal Star, April 11, 2009, Forum Spotlight: Embrace Healthy Eating with a Garden

Chicago Tribune, June 11, 2008, To the Source: the Vanilla of Veracruz (short abstract is free, full article is not)

Woodford County Journal, July 3, 2003, Guest Column:Biotech Issues Misrepresented

Beard House, the quarterly publication of The James Beard Foundation, Fall, 1999, featured article: “The Spoken Recipe”

Snowbound, Winter, 1999, “A Farmer’s Market Manifesto”

Gaia series on Global Environmental Issues for The Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokyo

Terra's Speaking Topics

Terra speaks at conferences and other venues on a range of food and farm topics. In addition to her book The Seasons on Henry's Farm topics have included:

Texture of Farm Life

• "The Art of Noticing:" 
The Writing Life and The Farming Life

• Farming through Fifty-Two Seasons

• Beauty, Pain, and the Love of Farming

Farmers and Farming

• New Hope for the Future of Farming

• Farming in Harmony with Nature

• Who are the New Farmers? (USDA stats and your neighbors too)

• Small Farms; Big Markets

• Getting the Word Out: Marketing Strategies for New Farmers

• Farming for Profit and Quality of Life


• Betting the Farm: Future Food Growing in America?

• Valuing Land: Parking lot, Subdivision, Strip-malls . . . Farmland?

• Ways to Preserve Farmland for Local Food Production

• Intro to Agricultural Easements


• Doing Good by Eating Well

• The High Cost of Cheap Food

• Changing the World One Meal at a Time: What One Person Can Do

• Growing Local: How to find great food grown nearby

Food Systems

• Reinventing the Food Chain: Re-connecting Consumers and Farmers

• A Tale of Two Food Systems (adults) or A Tale of Two Chickens (kids)

• The Re-Localization of Food: Values Added Agriculture

Agricultural Policy and Misc.

• Energy, Climate, and Food Production

• Sustaining the Family Farm through “Able-to-Sustain” Agriculture

• Sustainable Agriculture and Social Justice

• “Feeding the World,” “Safe and Abundant” and other Farm Bureau Fictions

Terra's Press Kit

Information About Terra

Terra Brockman Biographies

(short, medium and full)

Terra Brockman Curriculum Vitae

For appearance queries, please .
Because of the volume of email Terra receives, she cannot respond to every email.