Alumni Spotlight: Terra Brockman

Terra Brockman

Department of English alumna Terra Brockman ’81, MS ’85 is a self-employed writer. She is currently in the process of writing a book, The Seasons of Henry’s Farm, which has garnered positive blurbs from luminaries such as Sandra Steingraber and Fred Kirschenmann, as well as a foreword written by Deborah Madison. Brockman has also founded a nonprofit organization called The Land Connection, which is dedicated to preserving and enhancing our rich Illinois farmland, training new farmers to grow healthful, delicious foods, and connecting local growers with local eaters.

Brockman encourages people to consider more about the foods that they eat: Who grew it? Where? How? Asking these questions will cause us to turn to local growers that we know and trust, and also lead us to find the tastiest foods that let you do good by eating well.

 I’d like to say that the sort of agriculture described in The Seasons on Henry’s Farm is not a nostalgic nod to the past, but a glimpse of the future, says Brockman.  It has to be the future, because the prevailing mode of chemical-intensive, fuel-intensive, water-intensive monocrop agriculture is not sustainable.  It cannot continue indefinitely because it is utterly dependent upon cheap, abundant fossil fuels and water. And the days of cheap, abundant oil and water are numbered. Henry’s Farm and other sustainable farms around the country and the world are solar powered—the plants grow from inputs of sunshine and rain, not chemicals.  This solar-powered food production is as productive as chemical-based production, often more so, particularly in drought years.   And it’s easy to find this sort of food by tapping into sites such as and – give it a try, and do good by eating well!

Brockman’s father, Herman, taught genetics at ISU for 35 years.  He is now retired and working harder than ever on the farm.Brockman says she could not being doing what she does today without the support of her whole extended family: her parents Herman and Marlene, her five siblings, and her ten nieces and nephews, and that she considers it a major achievement to have gotten to a point in her life where she can devote her time and energy into the things that she considers important.

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