Gardens of Eagan owners had wanted to retire and their children didn't want to take over the farm.
The Wedge Co-op said it intends to buy Gardens of Eagan, a 35-year-old company now based in Farmington that supplies much of the produce for the Minneapolis natural foods store, the state's largest.
The deal, valued at $1.5 million, marries two of the best-known names in the local organic community.
"Owning an organic farm, particularly one so close to the city, will allow us to broaden our outreach through organic farming internships, tours and other learning opportunities that help people better understand organic farming," Lindy Bannister, general manager of the Wedge, said in a statement announcing the deal.
The Wedge has about 13,000 members.
The owners of Gardens of Eagan, Martin and Atina Diffley, said they plan to retire from farming. "Martin and I knew we didn't want to keep farming into our senior years and that our children did not want to take over the farm," Atina Diffley said in a statement. "So, in recent years, we asked, 'How can we protect the integrity of the farm without owning it?'"
They began talking to the Wedge a year and a half ago about a sale of the farm.
The Wedge will take over the farm on Jan. 1, with a two-year lease. The co-op plans to buy the farm during that lease period, according to a statement.
The Diffleys will remain on the farm, conducting research and community outreach.
The deal also locks in the Wedge's primary supplier of organic produce, preventing a developer or conventional farm from buying the land, Bannister said.
Matt McKinney 612-673-7329