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Healing From the Past to Grow for the Future

Updated: Jul 15

Martice Scales and Amy Kroll-Scales founded Full Circle Healing Farm in 2017, leaving stable career paths to start healing their community from the ground up. 

A Black man and a white woman stand next to each other. There is a red bard in the background.
Martice (left) and Amy (right) are the farmers behind Full Circle Healing Farm.

Full Circle Healing Farm is a two acre vegetable, herb, and flower farm in Mequon. The farm is located on the Fondy Farm at the Mequon Nature Preserve, a 40 acre incubator farm that has the mission of providing affordable, long-term leases to historically underserved producers. Martice and Amy started their farming journey on a quarter acre at Fondy Farm and have grown each year since.


While Martice and Amy enjoy selling at farmers markets, their true passion is growing food for people in need in their community. In 2023 and 2024, Martice and Amy received contracts through the Wisconsin Local Food Purchase Assistance (WI LFPA) Program to grow food for food access organizations. 


WI LFPA is strengthening food systems in Wisconsin by awarding farmers and community partners grants to grow fresh, nutritious food that is picked up and distributed to hunger relief partners throughout Wisconsin and provided to underserved communities at no charge. Martice and Amy founded their farm on the same kind of values and they’ve been working to feed food insecure people in their community. 


Two people stand in a field, both holding containers for planting.

“Equitable food access and battling food apartheid is really important and I think WI LFPA is doing a really good job to address that,” Amy said. “So many [food pantries in the area] don’t have fresh produce. It’s canned stuff. Fed is the best, but if we can give people fresh produce, eggs, and meat that’s even better. I think it’s great that we can be supporting small farmers to produce things that everyone deserves to eat. There shouldn’t be a checklist of what you ‘deserve’ to eat just because you’re living in poverty.”


WI LFPA gives many farmers much needed income security through guaranteed contracts and a first introduction to wholesale markets. 


Martice kneels near a mulched row of onions and points out their growth.

“WI LFPA gave us that first exposure to wholesale for straight-up produce,” Martice said. “And it was very, very low stress. It was also a guaranteed sale which, as farmers that do a lot of farmers markets, that's unusual. When you go to a farmers market, you harvest and you hope you don't come back with much. But with the WI LFPA, what we harvested was already sold. That gave us peace of mind that we don't typically get doing direct-to-consumer sales.” 


Martice and Amy are especially excited that their WI LFPA-grown produce, including culturally-relevant crops like collard greens and okra, is being provided to Tricklebee Cafe in Milwaukee. Tricklebee is a vegan, pay-what-you-can community cafe that aims to address food insecurity with dignity. 


“WI LFPA is a blessing because we can give fresh produce to our community,” Christie Melby-Gibbons, Tricklebee Cafe Executive Director said. “We are in an area where we struggle to find healthy options. It’s important that we are a spot where people can get fresh and local food. We can name our farmers and they are our friends. The farmers don’t have to do this but they choose to and that’s amazing.”


Martice stands in a green field and holds containers for planting.

Martice and Amy agree that Tricklebee Cafe is an impactful, community-forward business and is another reason why programs like the WI LFPA should exist. 


“When you think about a food pantry or soup kitchen, they’re great, but when you come into Tricklebee you’re eating at a restaurant,” Amy said. “You’re eating and nobody cares if you can pay. There's a beautiful sense of community there and they make culturally relevant meals.”


Along with a focus on food insecurity, the WI LFPA program was specifically designed to support historically underserved producers in growing food for underserved communities. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers historically underserved groups to be those that have been excluded from or have been subject to discrimination in Federal policies and programs. Farmers who are Beginning (0-10 years in business); Socially Disadvantaged (those who have been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice, such as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)); Veterans; and Limited Resource (at or below the national poverty level) are considered historically underserved. 94.8% of producers contracted through WI LFPA are historically underserved. Programs like this are a step towards healing historic harms and evening the playing field for all farmers. 


Amy and Martice stand together in a field on their farm.

In addition to shared values around food access, Full Circle Healing Farm also aligns with WI LFPA’s mission to provide inclusive and equitable support to historically underserved producers.  Martice and Amy decided to make the transition to farming full-time after Martice had a realization about the importance of healing generational trauma related to farming and regaining agency for BIPOC people around growing food. 


“I was going to school for IT and one day I just heard the divine call that I needed to grow food and teach people that look like me how to grow food,” Martice said. “I wanted to regain the power of choosing to do so. I really started to farm because it’s an act of resistance." 


Martice also sees farming as a healing practice that allows him to process generational trauma by taking back the act of farming as a resilient, freely-made choice. A stark contrast from the labor forced upon his ancestors through slavery and sharecropping.


He often thinks deeply about their experiences. “Last year I was using a scuffle hoe, doing some weeding and I was tired. I had only been working for 30-40 minutes and I was tired and I’m an adult. I just thought about my great-grandma having to be out there 10+ hours with a tool like this and unable to say that she’s tired. I am trying to regain the power to say, ‘I am doing this because I want to.’”


Inside a high tunnel. There are three rows of flats with green plants.

Martice wants to be a resource to other BIPOC people by using farming as a tool for growth and empowerment. 


“It’s important for me to be part of that group that teaches other BIPOC folks, specifically Black folks, to take back the power of growing food,” Martice said. “The younger folks tend to help the older folks to start to process some of their trauma and to start to address that stigma of growing food as a person of color. But it's not just Black folks. It’s many other people of color that have been put in bad positions when it comes to agriculture, like slavery and sharecropping. This country in particular has real big skeletons that it's never really addressed. Growing for me is putting me in a position to help deal with some of that generational trauma that, if it's not transformed, is just going to transfer on to the next generation. And I'd rather be the last to deal with it. I'd rather have the newer generation have a remembrance, but the healing has already happened.”


Amy and Martice walk down a path at Fondy Farm project. There are more fields and a red barn in the distance.

Growing up, Amy always wanted to be a farmer. She went on to study social work, peace and justice, and then worked as a psychotherapist, specializing in trauma. When Martice told Amy he wanted to be a farmer, Amy jumped at the opportunity to bring her passions to the vision for Full Circle Healing Farm. 


“When you really think about it, how do we heal? How do we nourish our communities? It starts with us eating,” Amy said. “It starts with us having fresh access to fruits and vegetables. It starts with nourishing our children because there are so many connections between how kids are getting nourished, mental health, and physical health, especially for BIPOC individuals. I think farming is a way we can address the core of some of these major problems we have in our world.”


Since the 2023 growing season, WI LFPA has given Martice and Amy the vote of confidence that they can scale up and do more. Currently, Full Circle Healing Farm is looking to move to a larger property where they can expand their mission of nurturing young BIPOC farmers and feeding those in need in their community, while also having their own farm property in which to raise their three young kids.


“We don’t have enough BIPOC farmers or young farmers,” said Martice. “Our goal is to do our part in helping to shape new farmers. We will create a safe space and make them feel like they belong there too.”


In January 2024 Full Circle Healing Farm became part of Martice and Amy’s non-profit, Full


Martice points at plants that are growing in a high tunnel.

Circle Healing: Farm, Healing Center, Apothecary. They are currently in a capital campaign to buy a property to expand their operation, with dedicated space for training beginning BIPOC farmers. More information about their campaign can be found on their website


“I think farming for us is not just about selling food,” Amy said. “We want to be doing things like the WI LFPA program where we're growing and knowing it's going to people who are food insecure because that is at the heart of our mission.”


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Wisconsin’s LFPA program is strengthening food and agricultural supply chain resiliency, supporting Wisconsin farmers, and distributing fresh nutritious foods to underserved communities. This project is a collaborative effort between the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Marbleseed, The Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative, and Wisconsin Farmers Union.

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