Nate Lehner of ClearView Productions, LLC captures Dave Wilke’s perspective on conservation practices. submitted photo
by Kristen Pieszko Rasmussen
In an effort to highlight local farmers and their conservation practices, the Green Lake Association (GLA) recently released a “Fridays on the Farm” video series.
Avalon Creek Farm
Avalon Creek Farm, located south of Green Lake near Twin Lakes, is operated by Lynne and Brad Goldsmith.
In 2018, Avalon Creek Farm was the site of a stream restoration project that has since diverted an estimated 300 pounds of phosphorus from the lake.
“There’s been a big turn of events for a lot of farmers moving to conservation or no-till practices,” said Dave Wilke, who rents their land. “If we lose all the soil, we’re not going to have [anything] for future generations to grow crops in.”
Goldsmith shared that Wilke “has a tremendous respect for conservation practices, and that is really important to the legacy of what we’re trying to accomplish here.”
The second installment of the series featured Chris Pollack of Pollack-Vu Dairy.
“I want to be a farm that’s respected for how I farm,” said Pollack. “Farmers are ultimately some of the biggest environmentalists you’ll find anywhere.”
The Pollacks hosted the GLA’s 2018 Conservation Field Day and — in collaboration with the GLA and Natural Resources Conservation Service — are the watershed’s first-ever demonstration farm, as part of the Upper Fox-Wolf Demonstration Farm Network.
“I got involved with the GLA when they started to plan the first Field Day. I had an ‘aha!’ moment because we started talking about soil health. I thought ‘maybe we can do better,”’ Pollack said. “I’m not buying fertilizer to fertilize the bottom of Green Lake—because I don’t grow corn out there, I grow it [on my farm].”
Boerson Farm is a 69-acre diversified farm in rural Green Lake County. Mat and Danielle Boerson are committed to regenerative agriculture, the practice of building soil health and reducing dependence on outside inputs, such as commercial fertilizer and fossil fuel.
“I’m a firm believer that if agriculture in the Green Lake watershed can move toward perennial and regenerative practices that keep the soil covered more of the year, our water quality will improve greatly,” Mat said.
The Boersons sell their produces at local farmers markets, through a CSA, and to local cafes.
Mat and Danielle Boerson share their passion for regenerative agriculture. submitted photo
“When you taste the way it should be, there’s no turning back,” Danielle said.“If people are willing to take the extra step to go to the farmer’s market or join a CSA, it connects the eater to the food and the land it was grown on.”
On behalf of the Planning Committee (Green Lake County Farm Bureau, Green Lake County Land Conservation Department, Green Lake County UW-Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Ripon FFA), the Green Lake Association thanks the community for their enthusiasm around this video series.
The goal of this journey to highlight conservation practices happening in and around the Green Lake watershed is to support farms and improve soil health — all while helping to protect Green Lake.
The full video series is now available to watch on Green Lake Association’s website at https://www.greenlakeassociation.org/fieldday.
Kristen Pieszko Rasmussen is the digital content strategist for the Green Lake Association, a local not-for-profit that works to improve water quality for Green Lake.