Meet Your Farmers

Maggie & Johann Kleinsasser
Whole Circle Farm Founders and Managers
(The people who make Whole Circle Farm possible!)

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Maggie and Johann came to Ontario from Alberta and Saskatchewan, respectively. Growing up in conventional farming communities, they have always lived communally. Founding Whole Circle Farm in 2002, they sought to make space for people to learn, grow and be themselves while growing delicious, organic, biodynamic, nutrient-dense food of the highest quality.

It’s hard to believe but Johann began his farming career as a young man tasked with spraying his community’s crops with herbicides. In 1981 Johann moved to Ontario and began his tenure at Community Farm, near Kitchener. Here Johann began working with his organic gardening mentor, Fred Kemp. After being introduced to the works of Rachel Carson, Sir Albert Howard and F.H King, Johann and Fred began the task of slowly trying to convert Community Farm’s 300 acres into organic production. After spending time growing corn in Uruguay and Paraguay, Fred learned to save seeds by watching the parrots eating the best-looking corn. Seed saving excited Johann and he pursued a project of saving seeds at Community Farm throughout the 1990s; for a time, he was an active member of ‘Seed Savers Exchange’ based in Iowa.

Not to be bought by theories of ‘overpopulation’ destroying the earth, and dismissing overpopulation as a cause of hunger, Johann began exploring biodynamics with Bernard Hack in 1990. Both a physical and spiritual shift occurred; biodynamics gave Johann and Maggie an opportunity to grow better food and make better soil.

Maggie was born in Alberta but moved to Community Farm in 1960 with her family. Involved in the garden at an early age, she can remember picking strawberries at the tender age of 7. Maggie brings a lifetime of knowledge about perennials, herbs, processing and preserving to the farm and is the rock which allows everyone to be well-taken care of and loved. In the mid-1990’s Maggie began helping Johann with his seed saving projects and still remembers the change in the soil during those first few years of biodynamic farming. Spending time with the cows is Maggie’s favourite activity on the farm, as she values the incredible energy the cattle infuse our community with. Her classic line about the farm is that you can ‘taste the love in our food.’ Indeed Maggie enjoys cooking with the abundance of food we grow and raise – and anyone who tries it can agree that it is INCREDIBLE!

Always welcoming  new experiences, thoughts and ideas, Maggie and Johann have supported a variety of interns, garden employees and managers at the farm since they began Whole Circle Farm in 2002. Practitioners of nonviolent communication, they are the strong and loving holders of our community where everyone can experience what it means to live, work and learn at WCF.

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Every season, Maggie and Johann are joined by a dynamic team of Garden Managers (the folks who are in charge of growing the vegetables!), Garden Staff and Interns who are fed mind, body and spirit by the land, the work and the abundance of every harvest. :) 

Rebecca
Garden Manager & Seed Saving Coordinator

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Rebecca started her relationship with WCF when her family became farm store customers (back in the day!), later becoming a CSA member in 2011 and then finally an intern in 2013. Rebecca grew up in Oak Ridges and spent many years attending the Toronto Waldorf School during the year and Camp NeekauNis (a Quaker Camp) in the summers. Food has always been important to Rebecca’s family. They tended a big flower and veggie garden together, purchased food from the local farmer’s market and purchased milk from the Blue Bus. 

During her undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph, Rebecca studied botany (plants) and anthropology (culture) and carried on this work at Awenda National Park teaching visitors about its amazing cultural and natural history. While traveling through Central America, Rebecca became a certified scuba dive master and took folks on tours under the sea! As fun as it was, tourism was not for her and she instead connected with a grass-roots Honduran NGO who works with farmer research committees to improve local food security. Working with these same farmers during her Masters degree, Rebecca learned many things about farming, seed saving and participatory plant breeding. After completing her degree Rebecca looked for people doing similar work in Ontario and found herself with Johann & Maggie at WCF.

Rebecca farms because it feeds her mind, body and soul in way that nothing else has. Our way of farming helps Rebecca feel like she has a significant purpose in the world, each day. Farming helps build connections between many people and it also challenges a social system which she believes to be broken.

She loves watching our laying hens roam around the farm expressing their ‘chicken-ness’, but also the brown and white long haired barn cat ‘Chucky’. He is super cuddly! Rebecca has many favourite seeds, among them are Iownes True Blue Corn, Johann’s April Green Cabbage, and Little Field Special dry beans.

Nicola
Garden Manager 

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In 2011, Nicola was part-way through a Masters Degree in Social Work and was yearning for something more. Having spent much of the previous year sitting at a desk, Nicola found herself wishing for physical work and a spiritual connection to the land, to something bigger. She started volunteering at two local, organic farms, one of which was Whole Circle Farm! Nicola immediately fell head over heels in love with farming – it was love at first scythe. :) She finished her degree, jumped into two back-to-back, full-season CRAFT internships, and hasn’t looked back since!

Nicola has been a volunteer and intern at Whole Circle Farm, and now manages the farmers’ markets portion of our operation. She is proud to be part of Whole Circle Farm for our strong commitment to sustainable, ecological farming – Nicola believes in working with the land, our animals, plants, and one another in a loving and respectful manner, values that are fundamental to Whole Circle Farm’s guiding vision. Moreover, she adores being part of the Whole Circle family because of the beautiful love and energy abundant in the land and in our community.

Nicola farms because she finds this to be the most fulfilling and meaningful work she has encountered thus far. She is very proud of the high quality, nutrient-dense food that comes from all our hard work! Farming gets her out of bed in the morning, keeps the dirt under her nails, and puts her to bed early every night. She wouldn’t have it any other way.