As part of our National Farmers Market Week celebration, we're highlighting a few of our vendors that are committed to providing fresh, healthy, local foods to the Emporia community.
Gail Fuller – G & L Whole Food and Fuller Family Farms
1. How did you get started farming?
I grew up on a farm, and started farming full time as soon as I graduated high school.
2. How long have you been selling at farmers markets/direct-to-consumer?
I’ve been selling direct-to-consumer for four years, and became a vendor at the Emporia Market in 2017.
3. What is your favorite product you offer, and why?
Transparency. I think the consumer needs to be asking much tougher questions about the source of their food, and Lynnette and I think they need to know not just what we do and how we do it, but why we do it as well.
4. What’s your favorite dish or recipe you like to make with some of your products?
Not enough room, or time to answer this. I like diversity in my diet, it is important for my immune system. I also try to eat as seasonal as possible, so in the summer I like burgers and anything I can grill. In the winter it is soup and stews, braised short ribs and comfort food!
5. Do you use any special growing methods or techniques?
Our focus is on soil, and ecosystem restoration. In other words trying to restore our carbon, water and mineral cycles and energy flow to the levels pre-white man so the food we grow has the highest nutrient density possible. The way to do this is following the five principles of soil health. Eliminate disturbance (tillage and chemical), keeping the ground covered at all times, having a living root in the ground 24-7-365, utilizing livestock, and diversity.
6. Why do you think it’s important for folks to eat local?
Eating local not only supports farmers in your area, but it allows you to ask questions about how your food is raised. But for me, it goes even beyond that. Your immune system needs to be built around food that is grown in your region, this is the best way to help your body fight off disease.
7. Any other special features about your farm, business, history, etc. you’d like to share?
As our farm continues its transformation from a 3,200 acre corn and soybean farm to a small, highly diverse food farm it has not only started to restore its ecosystem, but it also is restoring integrity in the food system. Something our country sorely needs.
Gail is a dedicated steward of the land and a true advocate for eating local. He has established the annual Fuller Field School event in Emporia, along with seasonal tours to learn more about his farming methods with an up close and personal experience. You can find out more about Gail’s commitment to soil health and local foods by finding G & L Whole Food on Facebook or visiting his booth at the market.