Knowing Your Roots

Posts tagged ‘Central Wisconsin’

Wisconsin Healthy Grown® – Leading the way for high-bar sustainability standards

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Striving for sustainability, particularly in the marketplace, is something most people desire but what exactly does it mean?

Sustainability is a process of producing something that balances the environmental, societal and economic needs for the good of everyone.

Here at New Family Farm, we understand the need to preserve the environmental integrity of the grower’s fields, the ecological services they provide and the landscapes of which they are a part.

We recognize the societal role that our farms play in fostering local communities by providing employment and opportunities for those who live there.

We know farmers need to be economically solvent, to remain in business and continue to grow the food we all depend on. Balancing all of these factors is what sustainability really means!   (more…)

Land Ethic & Central WI Vegetable Growers

Blog 4_2Blog 4Land stewardship—that heart felt love of our open, green areas, interspersed with crops that are so essential in maintaining our rural landscapes. We all want to be land stewards but what does that term mean to farmers in Central Wisconsin who own many of these lands?

Wisconsin’s land ethic writings go back to Aldo Leopold, the esteemed author of the Sand County Almanac in which he described Wisconsin’s biodiversity, beauty and ability to integrate landscapes and agriculture.

Although the book was written in 1949, the themes of the book resonate today, especially with farmers who manage both large and small swaths of land and carefully weave together the natural and agricultural areas into biodiverse landscapes.

There is certainly a personal value to land ethic, but the benefits expand beyond private ownership to society at large.   (more…)

Plants, Water, and Landscapes

Blog 17When it is warm and dry, you have probably noticed that plants require a lot of water to stay healthy, but did you know that only 10% of the water a plant receives actually remains inside of it to support life processes? Plants lose the other 90% of their required water (liquid) as water vapor (gas) to the atmosphere through a process known as evapotranspiration (ET), which is a combination of water the plants emit from pores in their leaves (transpiration) and water that evaporates from soil and plant surfaces.  ET uses a tremendous amount of solar energy, and this energy use coupled to the plant water use is referred to as the water-energy cycle of a landscape. When humans alter the composition of plants across a landscape (i.e. urbanization, agriculture), they also alter the water-energy cycle.  (more…)

Dedicated to Quality with PTI

potatoesThere is no doubt that our industry is as constantly changing as any other. With the continual rise of technology in our modern age, it is of utmost importance that the agriculture industry keeps up with the new requirements, electronics, and software that help us stay connected to our customers.

With the implementation of PTI (the Produce Traceability Initiative), staying connected to our product – no matter where it may be – is more possible now than ever before. Since the installation of the PTI scanners, printers, and software in many of the packing sheds across the state of Wisconsin, consumers can rest assured that they would be able to trace their potatoes back to the exact field they were grown in, know the day they were planted, harvested, and everything in between. (more…)

Behind the Scenes: Central Sands farmers improving biodiversity (and sustainability) on our farms!

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Wisconsin potato and vegetable growers have long looked at sustainability as a three legged stool orf responsibility.  One leg is social responsibility, while another is economic.  The third leg, which gets a lot of attention, is environmental responsibility.  These thoughts and practices are second nature to us, in part, because of our relationship with our core researchers at UW-Madison, USDA, Ag Experiment Systems and our County Extension Agents.  Another reason for the prevalence of these practices on our farms is that is makes good business sense, serving us in achieving both our short and long term goals.  Biodiversity is just one component of our environmental responsibility.

Biodiversity tells us the number and variety of different native species found within an ecosystem. This is important to each of us.  A diverse environment of native species compared to similar environments that are dominated by a few non-native and often weedy less desirable species, is more stable ecologically and provides many essential services to communities. These ecosystem services are not always easy to identify.  They include many valuable natural benefits such as: water filtration, maintenance of soil structure and health, habitat for birds and pollinating insects, alternative food sources to preserve beneficial insect predators and habitats for rare and endangered species.  We have all of these things at work in our diverse ecosystem landscape.   (more…)

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