A New Chapter for Whole Circle Farm

Change is the one thing we can rely on and we write to share the end of an era for Whole Circle Farm. Influenced heavily by biodynamic principles, Whole Circle Farm has been a diverse mixed farm since coming into the world in 2002. As part of that rich diversity, this land has seen vegetables growing for the last 15 seasons. Over the years, Whole Circle Farm has offered a loving home, employment and an education to many hopeful young farmers, and provided high quality, nutritious food to thousands of families through the CSA program and farmers’ markets across southern Ontario. This has been a truly amazing journey. Whole Circle Farm could not have done this without the passionate and dedicated volunteers, interns, and employees who tirelessly worked these fields year after year. And, of course, the farm could not have accomplished these many seasons without the commitment and support of countless cherished customers, as well as the generous support of the landowners, David and Elyse Chapman. Maggie and Johann offer their infinite gratitude to the entire extended Whole Circle Farm community for walking this path with them all these years.

The time has come to shift the farm’s focus away from vegetable growing. While highly rewarding, market gardening is enormously labour intensive and physically demanding. Vegetable growing has taken up the majority of the farm’s (human and financial) resources for many seasons. Maggie and Johann find themselves at a place where they are no longer able to shoulder the financial burden, and are ready to be less busy, to focus on their health, and to put energy into other areas of the farm. To this end, the 2017 season will be the last season Whole Circle Farm will grow vegetables at the market garden scale.

Maggie and Johann have been farming their whole lives. In fact, they fell in love while farming together, when their love blossomed over a shared passion for seed saving. While the future remains uncertain, as the landowners consider the sale of the farm, Maggie and Johann are excited to return to their truest passions. They hope to focus on taking care of themselves, raising beautiful pastured animals, saving seeds, growing grains, creating value-added products, and selling through the farm store. All this will be underpinned with a renewed focus on soil building and land stewardship through regenerative agricultural practices.

For our vegetable customers, this means the 2017 summer CSA will be the last summer CSA. The final winter CSA will run for 8 weeks from November through December, 2017. As well, Whole Circle Farm will end our long-standing tenure at The Stop’s Farmers’ Market at Wychwood Barns at the end of November, 2017. Valued customers, it is an understatement to say we will miss you dearly – your dedication and gratitude has given us a sense of purpose all these years. In our absence, please continue to support local farms and ecological agriculture in any way you can – sign up for a CSA, buy from local producers at farmers’ markets, volunteer on farms, and consider supporting the invaluable work of organizations such as the EFAO, NFU and Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. Every effort makes a difference.

Finally, please know, this decision was not taken lightly. It was an extraordinarily difficult choice but one that in the end feels like the right path to take. Though deeply sad about the end of a great chapter in the life of Whole Circle Farm, Maggie and Johann feel a sense of relief and hope as they turn the page to continue writing their story together on the land.

Maggie and Johann are very open to talking about their decision and, welcome your support in any way you choose to express it.

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