The Farmers Behind the Food: Will Moyer, Wellspring

Written by Jamie Ferschinger
    Friday, 08 March 2013
The Farmers Behind the Food: Will Moyer, Wellspring

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.

“My goal is to grow the best food I can in taste, in nutrition and in relation to our impact on this earth," he said, "Inside each seed is the possibility for a delicious vegetable, fruit or legume and it is the goal of our farm staff to create and foster an environment that allows each seed to reach the pinnacle of its potential. We believe this is done through creating healthy, dynamic systems." The Wellspring farm team wants soil that is healthy and full of life, plant communities that are diverse and supportive and a farm community that is all of the above. “This is how we foster the best growing conditions for both the plants and ourselves.” said Will. 

Wellspring is a certified organic farm and believed to be the oldest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in Wisconsin. The farm, located about 35 miles outside of Milwaukee, includes  a six acre certified organic vegetable farm,  a one acre demonstration garden, a solar heated greenhouse, three hoop houses for season extension, a small flock of laying hens, apple orchard, herb garden and 31 acres of wildlife refuge. In 2012 they began growing crops through the winter in a hoop house.  CSA members who ordered a winter share found root crops like carrots, potatoes, beets, parsnips, several types of winter squash and cold hearty favorites like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach and herbs in their boxes.

New for the 2013 Season, Wellspring will be offering fresh-cut organic flowers from their gardens. Flowers will be selected each week based on which varieties are ready to be harvested. Throughout the season, the flower share might include: Rudebeckia, scabiosa, snapdragons, zinnias, sunflowers, gomphrena and other assorted blooms.

Wellspring hosts several farm festivals, classes and activities especially for their shareholders and their families throughout the growing season. The Garden Prep Event on May 18th kicks off the season. A celebration of Ralph Bronner’s birthday and the Newburg Fireman’s Picnic with a public and free event happens on Sunday, June 2. The Taste of Wellspring, a gourmet meal at the farm prepared by talented area chefs using Wellspring produce and organic, natural meat is on Sunday, July 21. This year’s meal will be a special celebration of their 30th anniversary.  AGRI-Culture Fest is a two day festival in October (Saturday and Sunday, October 12 & 13) with live music, hay rides, pumpkin carving, workshops, local food vendors and events throughout the local Newburg community celebrating agriculture.

In addition to the farm, Wellspring is a not-for-profit education and retreat center. Wellspring’s mission is to not only grow organic food, but to teach the community the importance of growing, eating and living sustainably. Many educational opportunities are available at Wellspring throughout the year. Wellspring offers farm tours, workshops and learning opportunities for individuals, families, school and community groups. Classes and programs include home gardening, cooking with seasonal produce, food preservation, seed saving, tree grafting, foraging for wild edibles and summer camps for youth and teens.

Wellspring is committed to nurturing the next generation of farmers and offers seasonal internships as well.

 This blog post was written by Theresa Lins. Theresa is a Milwaukee-based writer and Urban Ecology Center “groupie”.  She has been active in promoting the Center and its programs for over 14 years.  Other than eating farm-fresh food, her favorite thing is to write about it and the people who produce it.

2013 LFOH logoYou can meet these farmers and many others at the Local Farmer Open House on March 9th at our Riverside Park branch. Meet and sign up with farmers, learn how you can join a CSA farm (purchase a share of the harvest) and get a box of fresh produce each week during the season. Join us for this free event!

Jamie Ferschinger

Jamie Ferschinger

With a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Communications and a Master's degree in Conservation Biology, Jamie brings a wealth of experiences and deep passion to her work at the Urban Ecology Center. As Branch Manager of the Riverside Park Branch, she helps to ensure that things are running smoothly and everybody is happy! Outside of work, Jamie enjoys running when the sun is coming up, spending time outside, cooking, listening to music and traveling to new places.

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