Pioneering Organic Produce Farm Facing Forclosure

For the love of organic farming, good food, biological diversity and planet health, we’re asking you to help by making a cash contribution to help support Sandy and Lonny Dietz. Here's a letter from their daughter, Erin Dietz, explaining why:

Growing up on an organic produce farm taught me many lessons that I carry through into my adulthood.

I learned the value of hard work. Not just any hard work. Hard work involving something you are very passionate about. Hard work that lifts up and supports your values and what you hold dear for the future of yourself, your family, your community and your world.

I learned that keeping a strong hold on your values in all of your actions takes innovation in our ever-changing world. On Whitewater Gardens Farm, my parents (Lonny and Sandy Dietz) have been feeding our local community healthy, nutritious, organic food since 1996. They have been key players in the development of local food systems including the Winona, MN and Downtown Rochester, MN Farmers Markets. They engage in agricultural policy change advocacy. They serve as mentors and educators to many farmers. They donate high quality produce to economically disadvantaged families through local food shelves, resource centers, and shelters.

And now? Every farmers' worse nightmare.

A combination of unfortunate circumstances, weather, and well-researched decisions failing to meet expectations have created a financial crisis for the previously stable operation. Cost over-runs from their pioneering all-season greenhouse resulted in excess debt.  Any one of these challenges alone would have created difficulties. Combined, the farm has been pushed to the edge of default on its bank loan.

My parents are working with the bank to reduce their debt load. They have agreed to sell forty acres of the farm that is not used for vegetable production. My dad is working an off-farm job leaving my mom to handle the day-to-day operation of the farm. I have never seen either of them as tired and worn out as I see them now.

There is a call to action, right now, to SAVE Whitewater Gardens Farm so my parents can continue to provide healthy, local, organic produce for our local community. Originally, we needed $40,000. Thanks to some wonderful, local friends of the farm, we are halfway to our goal!! We are humbled and amazed by the power of community!! But we are not there yet... We need the other half by July 31st! The clock is ticking.

We are so whole-heartedly grateful for the donations already made and continue to be grateful to the funds that keep coming in. In advance, we thank you for your consideration and for reading our story.
Many blessings!
  • Ivan Zavalnikov 
    • 100 $ 
    • 22 mos
  • Satya Pullakhandam 
    • 25 $ 
    • 25 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • 50 $ 
    • 27 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • 20 $ 
    • 29 mos
  • Bonnie Herrick 
    • 50 $ 
    • 29 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Whitewater Gardens Farm Friends (4)

Erin Dietz 
Raised 5,765 $ from 66 donations
Altura, MN
Sandy Dietz 
Karen Stettler 
Team member
Raised 620 $ from 4 donations
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