Reconnecting people in our community to the earth and each other through healthy food.
Our Farm Principals:
- Environmental Stewardship: We Utilize Holistic Management and no-till systems in our garden designs which means lots of labor, but healthy microbes, bugs and grubs and most importantly for you, plants. We are not certified organic, but we don’t apply any chemicals or non-natural substances onto our property or food. We embrace sunshine, water, compost and love. What is Holistic Management? It’s the practice of farmers implementing a “Whole Farm” planning system. It helps us to better manage agricultural resources in order to reap sustainable environmental, economic and social benefits. We design our farm as best we can with nature not against it and encourage native plants and animals to thrive.
- Ethics: Here at Willie Nillie we are open source. This means that if you want to know anything about the farm and it’s practices, just ask or come out and see for yourself. Whatever we do, we will share with you. We encourage anyone who wishes to come out and see the farm, sit in the grass, read a book, hike, meditate, do yoga, paint, enjoy the wildlife and more to stop by and be in the beauty and simplicity of nature.
- Community: We support our local community in several ways. First, by how we choose to purchase outside products. Our compost comes from a local source and so do some of our plant starts. Second, by working with other small farmers in our neighborhood to share resources, knowledge and labor. Third, by sharing our bounty in community meals with various organizations, food donations and hopefully, with you.
- Education: We believe in making sure everyone has a great experience being a part of our community no matter how long you choose to belong. We value making sure you are comfortable and excited to use the bounty given to you and know ways to use them. We also want you to grow, learn and share how you utilize products on your own. We don’t know everything and so we too learn from you. Sharing your experience and skills with us helps better your experience and allows us to continue to evolve and enrich our farm.
- Communication: It’s important for us to have open dialog. We will share with you all information needed regarding your participation, but you should feel free to call with questions or concerns and to inform us of any absences which will effect your weekly pickups.
Meet the many faces of OUR community:
Willie Nillie Farm is made up of several small, local business owners and amazing volunteers. So supporting us means belonging to a community all it’s own. Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) doesn’t just mean one form of agriculture, it branches out further to include everything from fruits and vegetables to tea, eggs, kombucha, community meals and many other events. As a community member we encourage you to really embrace all the support our community has to offer you.
Willie Nillie Farm is an all off-grid farm. We utilize rain water catchment for irrigation and washing of crops as well as home usage. Our electricity is comprised of a duel system of solar and wind power. Tiny home living, at approximately 200 square feet (look at your smallest room and maybe double it. Crazy I know) means we spend more time outside in nature growing food for you, enjoying on-farm community gatherings and laying in hammocks. Oh, and we compost everything.
Kelsey Fitzgerald, Owner, Willie Nillie Farm
Lover of the earth and all it’s blessings, I’m happy to have made Winona, MN my home. Growing up in a family that participated in bulk buying clubs and shopped at coops, I’ve always valued community in that way, so everywhere I’ve moved, I’ve located the food co-op and found out info about local farmer’s markets. It was while living in Brainerd in 2007 where I first heard of and participated in a CSA and it was life changing. Being a part of a CSA gave me the itch to grow my own food and I’ve been doing it ever since. I’ve had both good and bad experiences and I’ve taken those to heart when building my CSA. For more than six years I’ve worked on and managed several farms where I’ve learned the value of food, sustainability and community. From working on an educational farm with youth in Alaska to selling my produce at Twin Cities farmers markets, there is always one constant, my passion for food and sharing that with others.
What we eat matters and with whom we share it matters. Food feeds us, nourishes us, heals us and brings us together with friends, family, neighbors and strangers. It is an essential in all our lives and having a meal together is an opportunity to share our lives through food. I’m excited to share my delicious produce in many meals with my new community in the years to come.
The backbone of the farm Willie the cat is the newest and hardest working member of the team. The protector of the garden, she is mastering the art of mouse hunting and keeping away rabbits, squirrels and more. Twenty twenty one was the first year we were able to give out beets and most of our sweet potatoes because they are usually the first thing mice eat. Born a farm cat, Willie spends her summer days sleeping in the garden or greenhouse and is always excited to meet all the people that stop by. A lover and a hunter, best of both!
A community member down the road is sharing his farm fresh eggs laid by happy hens to any CSA members who wish to enjoy them. The Hens are raised free range organic(though not certified) and fed only top-quality free choice grains. The are comprised of three heritage breeds, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Americana and Isa Brown.
NO pesticides, NO insecticides on the chickens or pasture and NO antibiotics, and non-GMO!
Thanks to Heather for creating the beautiful painting that greets you on our pages as well as our annual greeting cards and more. She also provides space to grow more produce for the CSA most notably several varieties of winter squash and rhubarb. You can find more of her art at her website 1000wordsstudio.com.
Thanks to Emma, this past season I didn’t have to do it all alone. A hard worker, Emma was out in all weather doing a variety of farm chores from post pounding, harvesting, irrigation set up, weeding, watering, bed building, construction and more. We are lucky to have her.
Jackson Ramsland, Kombucha Brewer:
I started brewing Kombucha at 17 with a family friend and she taught me everything I know. The beautiful thing about kombucha brewing is the potential to share through connection and culture. My SCOBYS (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) are the grandchildren of my friend’s SCOBYs and I have passed on their children to friends and family as well. It’s a reminder of what we can grow and share together as living things on this planet. Kombucha also reminds us that, we humans need other creatures to thrive. Kombucha is full of probiotics which we need to reach for our full potential.
Probiotics help us stay in symbiosis which has been linked to the prevention of a long list of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. This is of particular interest me because I’m just finishing a degree in Nutrition. Health, is also extremely important to me and I pour all of my love and experiences into my brewing. In the summer of 2018 I was taught western herbalism at the Eclectic Institute in Sandy, OR, where I learned whole-plant medicine and herbalism. I have also worked on many organic farms in Illinois, where I grew up, and in Minnesota. All this to say, I really care about what goes into my kombucha. I try to incorporate medicinal herbs into my kombucha, as well as local and seasonal flavors. For example, you can expect strawberry kombucha in the summer and apple cider kombucha in the fall. Hopefully as I finish school and have more time to work on my hobbies, I can expand my offerings here at Willy Nilly Farm to include water kefir (in the works) and the herbal medicine I make. I cannot wait to share my culture with you all.