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When Steve and Kath Vogelmann purchased their 80 acre farm near Campbellsport 15 years ago, they never dreamed they would end up as full time CSA farmers. At the time, Steve was self-employed in the construction industry and Kath was a wildlife artist.
But everything came together in the right combination of talents, skills, and experience, along with their passion for healthy food and love of the natural world.

Steve was born up north in Merrill, Wisconsin where he gained a lifelong love for nature, especially the north woods where he went for long walks with his father. Kath’s Dad spent his early life on the family farm, acquiring a deep love for the natural world—which he passed on to all his children. Kath’s Mom was a gourmet cook and a lifelong perennial gardener—and she infused her children with a love for good food, and a sensitivity to the delicate balance of the ecosystem.

The story of HighCross Farm goes back to 1975, when Steve and Kath rented a farmhouse on a former dairy farm and planted a huge organic garden, which yielded a bumper crop of veggies. But since local work was hard to find, they returned to the Milwaukee area for the next 23 years.

Will Moyer is the new farm manager at Wellspring in Newburg, WI. Though he may be new to the job, he’s an old hand in the garden.

“I have spent most of my life with both elbows deep in rich soil. Starting as just a babe spending long summer days in my Grandpa’s market garden, I have cultivated a love for small scale, sustainable agriculture. Some of my earliest memories are pulling sugar snap peas right off the plant in the spring and popping them into my mouth after the old, one-two swipe on my Oshkosh overalls (just like Grandpa),” said Will.

After keeping his hands dirty with one farming or horticulture job or another he attended the University of Michigan where he studied Sustainable Agriculture and Water Development and minored in Environmental Geology. While he loved schooling and the voraciousness with which he consumes knowledge hasn’t wavered, he knew that after graduation he needed to get some real world growing experience. He spent the next few years interning and working as a farm hand at several different organic farms throughout the Eastern and Midwestern United States. He would follow the growing seasons, finding himself moving south in the winter and north as soon as the days began to really lengthen, in an attempt to constantly stay busy and learn, learn, learn. He was able to work with some great farmers with well-run operations who not only shared with him their farming practices but their personal farming principles. It is through this kaleidoscope of growing experiences that he has developed (and continues to develop) his own farming philosophies.

For Steve Young and Debra Jo Becker of Rare Earth Farm in Belgium, Wisconsin, “farming isn't something you do when you feel like it- it's a lifestyle.” The pair, who described themselves as a couple of happily married farmers, have over twenty years of experience growing crops and caring for the land. According to Debra Jo, “if you don't care for your soil first it almost isn't worth bothering to care for your crops- especially over the long-term.”

Willoway Farm consists of young couple Daniel Bertram and Jacqueline Fulcomer, who have 14 years of organic farming experience. Wisconsin raised Dan and New Jersey raised Jacqui met in Whitefish, Montana one winter. In Whitefish, Jacqui spent five growing seasons working at an organic farm called Purple Frog Gardens.

They moved to Wisconsin in 2004 and both attended the Garden Student Program at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin for six months. The program covered everything from market gardening, to organic pest and disease management. Being a garden student gave them a sense of direction and provided them with many organic, permaculture and biodynamic resources.

Farmers Kelly Kiefer and Jeff Schreiber met while working at Outpost Natural Foods in Wauwatosa. Jeff was in the city for the winter after working as manager of the CSA at Wellspring, a non-profit farm-based education organization. Kelly had just graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in Sociology and was off to pursue a five month internship as a farm-based educator in New York State. She was delighted to learn about Wellspring – who knew there was such a place so close to where she grew up? It worked out that Kelly went to work with Jeff at Wellspring when she returned from her internship in New York. There, over the next three years, their love for farming and each other grew. "In 2011 we started Three Sisters on Kelly's family's land. The name has a double-meaning. Kelly does, in fact, have two sisters, but they currently live elsewhere. At farmers’ markets, I am often asked if I am the ‘fourth sister’!  The other meaning is a nod to the ‘three sisters’ planting of the Native Americans. In this planting, corn, beans and squash worked together harmoniously: the squash sprawled along the ground, crowding out weeds; corn popped up through this "mulch;" and the beans used the cornstalks as a trellis. It is a simple and elegant example of working with nature, rather than against it. While we don't necessarily plant our corn, beans and squash in this way, we take the ‘three sisters’ as a metaphor for how to go about the work we do,” says Jeff.

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