Grounded Growth Farmers
Get to know some of our farmer members who have been using regenerative farming practices for decades! Regenerative agriculture is a way of farming that helps increase soil health, improve food quality by creating a healthy soil microbiome, reduce climate change, improve the ability of a field to capture rain and to improve water quality.
The starting point for our farmers is a practice called no-till. This is a way of planting that does not tear up the soil each year in order to control weeds, as organic farmers often need to do. Instead, no-till farmers use special equipment to place the seed directly into the soil. They then use multiple other practices (like cover crops, livestock integration and inter-cropping, or growing multiple crops together) to further enhance the health of their soil — and the food grown within it.
Learn more about a fundamental practice of regenerative agriculture: no-till, in our first video from member and director of agriculture for Grounded Growth, Justin Knopf. For more information on regenerative farming practices, be sure to check out our Vimeo
Be part of the solution by spreading the word through your social media channels about these amazing farmers!
Meet Grounded Growth Farmer Member: Justin Knopf — Kansas
Justin Knopf is a fifth-generation farmer who farms near Salina, KS. He is an avid conservationist. Justin’s family farm roots stretch back 160 years. He has been measuring his soil’s carbon over the past 20 years. As a result of his management practices — Justin has significantly increased the carbon content in his farm’s soil. This is both a benefit to the farm and to the planet because his practices help build up soil health, improve water quality and reduce climate change.
A few years ago, Justin was the farmer featured in the book and documentary, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman
Meet Grounded Growth Farmer Members: Cori Wittman Stitt & Dick Wittman — Idaho
Cori is a fourth generation farmer growing a wide variety of crops, cattle and timber with family members on 18,000 acres in North Central Idaho. Cori builds upon a strong legacy of conservation and farm management consulting established by her Dad, Dick Wittman — also a member.
The Wittman operation was one of the first in the area to begin direct seeding (no-till planting), recognizing the soil health and carbon sequestration benefits in addition to greatly reducing erosion.
In addition to the farm, the Wittmans established Camp Wittman. The camp has a special focus on helping economically and socially disadvantaged youth access both the beauty of nature and the ability to learn about a regenerative way of farming.
Meet Grounded Growth Farmer Member: Derek Axten — Saskatchewan, Canada
Derek is a 4th generation farmer that covers about 6,000 acres from Minton, Saskatchewan in Canada. He has been a pioneer of the regenerative agriculture movement — and bringing his expertise to our network. Oh, and he also brings nonGMO varieties of oats, sprouting peas, lentils, chickpeas, yellow mustard, buckwheat, spelt, red millet, rye, barley and more!
Learn more about farmers like Derek at the Menoken Farm YouTube Channel
Meet Grounded Growth Farmer Member: Mitchell Hora — Iowa
Mitchell farms in southeast Iowa. His family roots in farming are deep — farming some of the same ground for over 100 years! Mitchell is also the owner of a soil health consulting business, Continuum Ag. He is sharing his knowledge about how to measure and use soil health data with both other farmers AND food companies in our community.
We are excited to explore how Mitchell’s ability to help farmers test and manage soil health can also help food companies to better communicate about the benefits coming from working directly with a regenerative farmer.
For more on Mitchell’s work, check out his YouTube channel: Continuum Ag
Meet Grounded Growth Farmer Member: Lucas Criswell — Pennsylvania
Lucas and his father farm 1,500 acres of nonGMO corn, soybeans, wheat, rye, canola in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The Criswell’s are 100% no-till and cover crop every acre. They are now starting to explore relay cropping on many of their acres. The farm uses manures from dairy cows, liquid hog waste and chicken litter in combination with the cover crops as a major part their fertility program.
In this video, you can see Lucas applying a regenerative agriculture practice: planting into green cover crops. Usually, a farmer needs to kill the cover crop before planting the new cash crop. By planting the new crop directly into a still living cover crop (green), the farmer is able to use less pesticide and still not till up the earth — something that organic farmers are often forced to do.
Planting green is still a challenge for many farmers – we are thrilled to have Lucas’ expertise in our community — and available to embed into brands that work with him.
Meet Grounded Growth Farmer Member: Frank Rademacher — Illinois
Frank farms with his Dad Eric on a small family farm of about 600 acres near Gifford, Illinois. The Rademachers grow nonGMO Corn, Soybeans and Wheat. We’re committed to no-till/cover crop practices and have switched to all Non-GMO crops to not only increase environmental sustainability, but profitability as well. We try to always be learning, whether it be through on farm trials, new crops, or new practices.
The Rademachers are sharing their story and their learning journey through their farm website and on FaceBook — yet another skill our group will benefit from.
Connect With Us!
Justin Knopf, Farmer
& Director of Agriculture for Grounded Growth