Green Fire Farm LLC, established in 2015, is a new regenerative farming venture led by a father-son team of Jim and Jacob Marty. Located 30 miles south of Madison, the farm fills a beautiful valley in Green County, home of America's Little Switzerland and Spotted Cow, New Glarus, and America's Swiss Cheese Capital, Monroe. Six generations, dating back to the 1850's, have stewarded this land by working hard and adopting the newest technologies in agriculture. The Marty family has a rich history of dairymen, cheesemakers, farmers, and foresters.
Green Fire Farm focuses on agricultural and lifestyle practices that regenerate and build soil, sequester carbon, and enhance the health of the local water, air, and nutrient cycles by observing and replicating naturally occurring patterns. Livestock are managed in ways that mimic their natural history and behavior. This results in healthy and happy animals that produce high quality meat in the process.
Along with livestock, perennial silvopasture plants like apples, chestnuts, mulberries, pecans, mushrooms, and many other fruits and nuts are being established to recreate a resilient and robust agro-ecosytem while providing food for human consumption and forage for livestock. A thriving farm produces healthy foods that feeds healthy families! Healthy families foster prosperous communities!
In 2015, we started by converting a 50-acre corn field (annual, input-intensive monoculture) into a pasture (perennial, low-input, regenerative, highly diverse polyculture). In spring, we bought cattle from a retiring grazer in WI, fenced in the new pasture, laid water lines, and we were on our way! Hogs were reintroduced to the farm for the first time in decades, and their management continues to offer new learning experiences. Laying hens were also reintroduced after a multi-decade absence. The beginnings of a silvopasture took root, with the initial planting of about 300 fruit and nut trees, including chestnuts, persimmons, pecans, redbuds, and others.
In 2016, we expanded, converting an additional 40 acres of corn and soybean fields to pasture. Our cattle herd grew by 50% and our pig herd increased four fold. A flock of 100+ baby chicks were reared for laying. All animals were set out on pasture and rotated accordingly. We also expanded our silvopasture with the additional planting of 1000 fruit shrubs to provide pollinator habitat for our honey bees, the butterflies, and insects.
In 2017, the farm converted another 160 acres of corn and soybean into pasture and grew to include sheep, ducks, meat chickens, and turkeys, all of whom, joined the rest of the menagerie in pasture rotation.
We look forward to the new adventures each day brings on the farm! As 2018 rolls underway, we look forward to new possibilities and opportunities to better our farm, community, and selves.