NEWS

Farmers for Sustainable Food helps lead conversations in Wisconsin's sustainable farming

Samantha Hendrickson
Wisconsin State Farmer
Farmers for Sustainable Food board poses for a picture at their Jan. 20, 2022 meeting. 

Back L-R: Colleen Geurts, Jeff Endres, Mike Berget, Greg Steele.

Front L-R: Holly Bellmund, Paul Cornette, Todd Doornink, Lee Kinnard. (not pictured: Lynn Thornton)

New organization, Farmers for Sustainable Food (FSF), is "gaining momentum" after electing a full board to further action and education around farming and sustainability. 

The organization partners with farmer-led conservation groups statewide, for a total of 231 farmers representing 288,925 acres and 243,720 head of livestock. The group hosted their very first annual meeting on Jan. 20, 2022. 

“Holding our first annual meeting allowed us the great opportunity to connect with our members, reflect on the progress we have made and establish goals for where we want to grow,” Lauren Brey, FSF managing director, said. “Our collective effort and outcomes have grown tremendously in a short period... It wouldn’t be possible without the belief of our members and the farmers doing the hard work.”

Last spring, FSF gained national recognition for a sustainability project they piloted in southwestern Wisconsin, and has since added three more. FSF has also elected a full board as of their last meeting, with members across the ag industry in Wisconsin. 

“I never imagined when we kicked this thing off three years ago that we would be where we are today,” said Wes Garner, a since-retired board member who helped launch the group. 

FSF offered an opportunity for members to participate in a roundtable discussion about the future of sustainability projects at their recent meeting. Many emphasized that the farmers are the future of sustainability, and brainstormed how to foster that communication between farmers. 

“The work that FSF is doing is really about the legacy of agriculture, how do we want to leave it for generations to come,” Tim Trotter, CEO of the group, said at the Jan. 20 meeting. “We truly appreciate all of you as members… You all understand that we are all in this together.”

Samantha Hendrickson can be reached at 414-223-5383 or shendrickson@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @samanthajhendr.