[Market-farming] FULL CIRCLE FARM WINS FARM AID FARM of the MONTH

Allan Balliett igg at igg.com
Wed Nov 17 23:40:58 EST 2004


Carnation, Washington farm connects to their community in a family way

Over the course of the year, Andrew Stout and Wendy Munroe grow and 
sell more than 75 varieties of vegetables and herbs on Full Circle 
Farm, a 140-acre certified organic produce farm located in Carnation, 
Washington. Through retail stores and farmers markets, restaurants 
and subscribers in its Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, 
chefs and consumers who want the very best and freshest produce have 
come to rely on Full Circle Farm's consistent ability to provide.


Wendy Munroe & Andrew Stout grow and sell more than 75 varieties of 
vegetables and herbs on Full Circle Farm. 

Wendy and Andrew started farming on 3 acres in 1996 with a love of 
growing and the need to get involved with their community. Throughout 
the years, Full Circle Farm has steadily been able to grow more food 
as the community connections have grown stronger. By working with 
Harvest for Humanity and Hopelink, the farm has donated over 6,000 
pounds of organic produce to those in need. They also work closely 
with the local school districts, providing fresh organic produce for 
school lunches through the WSDA sponsored Farm to Cafeteria 
Program. Full Circle Farm is connecting to the community in a family 
way. "We believe that wholesome food is the foundation necessary for 
a long healthy life," an expecting Munroe states, "and you can never 
start eating healthy to soon."

Full Circle has become not just a farm, but also a small-scale 
distributor of sorts, teaming up with some other local growers to 
provide companion crops. Full Circle supplements many of its cool 
season crops with warm season crops from Alvarez Farms in Eastern 
Washington. "The benefit is we can offer our customers fantastic 
produce that is better grown outside our region," says Stout. "When 
you add the fact that we are helping to support other family farms, 
it clearly becomes a successful working relationship."

  "We believe that wholesome food is the foundation necessary for a 
long healthy life," an expecting Munroe states, "and you can never 
start eating healthy to soon."
One of Full Circle's greatest strengths is efficiency. Duplicates of 
older tractor equipment ensure that a replacement part is readily 
available if something breaks. Staff are cross-trained and most now 
have mud-speckled cell phones for communication from the seat of a 
tractor - a sure sign that farming has come into the 21st century. 
Suction-powered seeding equipment holds one seed in place for each 
cell of a seedling tray, vastly reducing seed waste and sore eyes. 
This year, they planted over 3 million transplants.

"You want to become the best farmer you can become," Stout says. 
"Some of this is tools, and some is observation." One of his best 
observations is in anticipating what local consumers want. 
"Consistency is key!" he declares. That's how Full Circle has built a 
reputation among many local chefs and produce lovers as the best 
source for locally grown organic salad greens, vegetables and fine 
herbs.

Full Circle Farm is the 2003 recipient of the Department of Natural 
Resources Green Globe Award for Leadership in Habitat Preservation 
and the King County Wildlife Farm of the Year for 2004. They are the 
first farm in Washington to become certified in the Salmon Safe 
Program, demonstrating their belief in land stewardship through 
action and example. To learn more about Full Circle Farm and become a 
member, visit thieir website.



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