Sustainability Ag-vocate: Laura Gosewisch of Vital Ground Farm in Beldenville, WI

Laura Gosewisch of Vital Ground Farm in Beldenville, WI
Tell us about your farm!

Vital Ground Farm started out on rented land, growing vegetables and
herbs for market. As a Clinical Massage Therapist, I took note of the
physical and emotional burdens of farming and became as passionate
about supporting other farmers as growing food. I took the focus off
just myself and my farm and instead, nurturing a resilient farming
community around me, I developed Vital Ground Farm Network. We run a
shared market stand at farmers markets in the Twin Cities and promote
opportunities for on-farm experiences. Vital Ground was named for the
challenges I faced starting out in farming without owning land, and to
honor the importance of soil – the metaphor continues to lend itself
to how my work as evolved. Just as healthy soil depends on an
assortment of dynamic relationships, so do we!
Laura Gosewisch of Vital Ground Farm in Beldenville, WI

How did you get into farming?

When I was in my early twenties, I experienced some serious trauma,
hardship, and food insecurity. I remembered growing a little patch of
carrots as a kid and started planting seeds - I don’t remember what I
was thinking at the time, it was just the only thing I wanted to do
when I was deeply depressed. The simple act of growing things was
healing and growing the little bits of food I could made me feel
empowered to navigate a world that felt hopeless. I became passionate
about food as justice. I was always giving food away or helping
friends grow their own. Every year I wanted to grow a little more and
eventually started to think about doing it on a farm-scale instead of
just a home garden. I started volunteering on a farm, got hired for
the following season, and have been farming ever since!
Laura Gosewisch of Vital Ground Farm in Beldenville, WI

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a farmer?

The beauty of creating a farm is that it can be a unique reflection of
you, but it takes a lot of practical thinking to turn that into
something that is financially sustainable. Keeping finances in mind
while staying true to our values can be very difficult at times. Every
season there will be failures, and it can get challenging to stay
persistent. The most unexpected challenge for me, personally, is
managing my attention to how others perceive my farm and my mission,
especially other farmers - there are a lot of folks that think their
way is the only way.
Laura Gosewisch of Vital Ground Farm in Beldenville, WI

What are your thoughts and beliefs on farming in the face of climate change?

Farming and climate change are inextricably linked. Industrial,
extractive methods of farming have certainly contributed to climate
stress. I’m encouraged by the regenerative farming movement that I’m
part of, and we can do a great deal through farming intentionally.
Farmers are always paying attention to shifts in the natural world –
whether we’re watching weather, plants, or animals, we notice subtle
changes and adjust. Right now, it’s not a question of prevention, but
mitigation. Our interaction with the earth makes an impact, clearly,
so I try to focus on the positive side of that relationship. When we
actively work to regenerate soil, we can make a measurable impact in a
relatively short period of time. This is an area where customers are
so crucial – choosing who you support with your dollars is more
important than ever. There is more than just a monetary cost to all
our decisions.
Laura Gosewisch of Vital Ground Farm in Beldenville, WI

What future are you farming for and how do you think your farm can
make a difference?

I am working toward a future that embraces localized,
relationship-based solutions to the struggles we all face. None of us
is exempt from hardship; it looks different for each of us, but we
don’t have to go it alone. We can tackle big problems little by little
when we are more open about what we need, and to give what we are
able. The adage “many hands make light work” is a favorite of ours on
the farm – tackling racial injustice, climate change, poverty, and all
their symptoms is a responsibility we all share. I don’t have all the
answers, but I strive for my farm to be a place where we can take
refuge, be nourished, connect, and find solutions together.

Where can we follow along and support you?

Instagram: @vitalgroundfarm

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