Edible Door Article - Taking a Closer Look Under the Soil - Full Circle Community Farm Eyes Sustainability

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Take a drive through rural Wisconsin. What do you notice? Probably a lot of corn, soybean and, maybe, wheat fields. We are a state with a lot of monocropping – growing the same crop year after year on the same land.

What does that do to our soil? How does that affect the land we are growing on, and the quality of the food we are growing? How does that affect our community as a whole? Organic farmers like Andrew Adamski of Full Circle Community Farm in Pulaski are working every day to change the way we farm and say community and good soil nutrition may be the key.

Adamski grew up around farming; both of his parents were heavily involved with agriculture. He attended Northern Michigan University in Marquette, where he studied biochemistry, microbiology and finally ecology – specifically focusing on microbial ecology. This sparked his interest in how microbes interact with the world around us and the role they play in our ecosystems.

“Good organic agriculture is all about the microbes, really,” says Adamski. He is still finalizing his thesis on mending urban soils for his master’s degree. He has combined his study with Full Circle Community Farm’s mission: to provide high-quality organic food while creating a community-based farming model that will revitalize farms and communities all across the country.

“What really sparked me to do this was that I would come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas [during college] and see these corn or soybean fields totally blank and devoid of life,” said Adamski.

You can tell what’s going on underground based by what’s going on above ground … It got me thinking about the whole farming economy and how people are dependent on these synthetic fertilizers and pesticides … I looked at it as, to the root of it, unsustainable. What I saw with Full Circle Community Farm was that my parents set up a system that’s based on ecological principles. Where nothing takes more than its fair share and everything interplays with each other.”

The Adamskis are now five generations on Full Circle Community Farm near Pulaski. It is a certified organic, pasture-based farm that has recently retired from dairy and has moved to grass-fed beef. Andrew, along with his partner Heather, has added quite the variety to the farm.

Looking into their CSA (community supported agriculture) basket, one would see a large variety of vegetables (also available at the Green Bay summer and winter farmers markets), an egg share provided from their laying hens, specialty bouquets, and they raise 100 percent grass-fed beef, pastured heritage pigs and pastured rabbits. These meat shares are offered through the support SLO Farmer’s Cooperative. SLO (Sustainable, Local, and Organic) Farmer’s Co-Operative was founded in 2014 and is committed to providing quality farm products that sustain both our farms and our environment. As Adamski would say, SLO offers one voice for all the farmers and it gives beginning farmers a chance.

“One farmer, one vote,” he said. “Everyone has a say, no matter how small you are … Those young farmers, those first- and second-year farmers, they’ll have a market if they have SLO. They’ll have a piece of it; they’ll feel like their part of their community.”

Good farming starts from the ground up, with the way we treat our soil, all the way to how we treat our farmers. We have to have good soil to build the foundation of a good farm. Everything works in one big community: from the soil to hay, hay to cows, cows to manure, manure to crops and so forth. It really all comes Full Circle.

BY KARLI NORTON | NOVEMBER 15, 2018

The root of our pastures is soil

IT ALL COMES FROM THE SOIL

Take a drive around rural America today. Monocultures of corn and soybeans dominate the landscape.  This is extractive farming dependent on GMO seeds that can withstand onslaughts of pesticides and herbicides, as well as artificial fertilizers that must be added because the soil is so depleted.

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There is another way, and it simply takes looking at how nature maintains a healthy ecology for an abundance of life to flourish. What is the secret? Simple: it’s soil.  By fostering the highest quality soil we not only provide the best produce, nuts and berries but also the best meat from animals who live their lives on pasture.  All of these parts of our agro-ecosystem are dependent on the health and quality of our soils.

“You are what you eat.” This idea sums up our idea of sustainable,
regenerative farming.

HEALTHY ANIMALS FOR A HEALTHY COMMUNITY

We raise our animals on perennial pastures. This means that the ground is covered with plants for as long as possible. Plants are great at absorbing nutrients and runoff (like animal manure) and they also happen to be the perfect food for cows, pigs, chickens, and us! Not only do the animals fertilize the land that they eat from, this complex relationship also holds back runoff from other farms that don’t have pastures. Therefore, the nutrients (aka poop) don’t make it into the water which means you can drink easy knowing your water is safe!

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Animals on pasture are also much healthier than ones that only live inside of barns. Sunlight helps them synthesize vitamins and the microbes in the environment help boost their immune systems so that we don’t have to feed them antibiotics unless they get really sick. You will notice that the meat from our animals has a different color, texture and flavor than you might be used to. This is because of all of the exercise and fresh plants they are eating.

Happy Solstice from your busy farmers!

Hello, friends— Scott here! As I write this, the sun is setting… and it’s only 3:30 in the afternoon. I’m eagerly looking ahead to the Winter Solstice: the day in which the Earth’s northern half stops its slow tilt away from the sun and begins to tilt back toward the sun. In ancient times, this was a celebration, as our ancestors looked forward to longer days and new growth.

We have been keeping busy during the non-growing season: Andrew and Heather spent a lot of time organizing the lower half of the barn and making a cozy space for the chickens. The hens are very happy in their winter quarters! They have lots of room to scratch and roost. We like to open the door during the day in case some of them are feeling adventurous enough to roam about in the snow; you’d be surprised by how many of them enjoy the cold air! They are still laying beautiful and nutritious eggs but not very often. Less daylight means the girls lay less eggs, so if you hope to buy eggs from us at one of the winter farmer markets, get there early before we sell out!

Speaking of farmer’s market, we will be attending all of the markets in downtown Green Bay at the KI Center. They are only on certain Saturdays, so check before you go. As this is the off-season, we have only certain vegetables, mostly storage crops such as carrots, cabbage, potatoes and onions. But we also have a great selection of grass-fed beef and pork cuts as well as eggs. The next market is January 12 and we’ll be promoting our CSA sign-up for the 2019 season. Stop by and say hi!

At the farm, we have been working on some of buildings for growing vegetables. Our major priority has been the prop house, short for propagation house or greenhouse. I included a picture below. The prop house will be heated and will allow us to start from seed, all the yummy veggies you look forward to. We got all the posts in the ground before it froze and now we’ve been working on attaching the rest of the supports. Once that’s done, we will cover in plastic and turn on the heater. (There’s a bit more to it than that, but I’ll share those details in another post :-)

We hope you enjoy your holiday season and that the new year (and solstice) brings you heath and happiness!

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