Circle M Market Farm is run and owned by me, Kriss, and my husband, Shannon. I’m an East-coast native, former Chicago newspaper journalist, recent homeschool mom of four and current experimental homesteader. I’m the full-time farmer at Circle M, though without Shannon’s carpentry skills there would be no farm. Without the labor of our mostly-grow children, hard-working neighborhood Student Interns and dedicated Workshare CSA Members, there would be nothing but weeds growing here.
When we found this pretty farm, we simply had the goal of healing our our little piece of run-down land with its ramshackle buildings. (If you’d like to read how we came to be on a farm after living in urban Chicago for 20 years, click here.) We had no idea what that would mean, though I was quite sure it would involve sheep therapy, as prescribed by one of our favorite writers, Gene Logsdon. So we went looking among the neighbors for sheep to poop and pee and fertilize our land. But we came home with 5 adorable milk goats that we had to bottle feed instead. A little while later came the lambs, the steers, the piglets, the ducklings and chicks. As we learned, we came to understand that our greatest joy would be seeing the land become productive again – a vision bolstered by the writings of Wendell Berry, and heartily encouraged by the elderly former farmers we were beginning to meet in our tiny town.
So Shannon and I created a four-year system of rotating pigs through large garden plots and started producing vegetables to share – starting with just 15 CSA shares in 2007. Our methods continue to evolve, and we continue to seek knowledge from other market farmers and neighboring farm families as we grow. In the meantime, we find ourselves increasingly asked to nurture and train new organic farmers who want to try a homestead model. Our CSA Program is now at 150 members. But our basic drive remains the same – to gently steward these 20 acres in a way that keep them healthy, beautiful and productive for years to come. The Circle M Mission is to care well for this beautiful little piece of earth and share that beauty with others – in the form of both food and farm life, feeding body and soul. We invite you to make our farm yours.