Full Circle Organic Growers Cooperative Records, 1986-2011


In January 1985, a small group of organic growers met and began forming a cooperative over the next few years. Full Circle Organic Growers Cooperative was based at Oak Center General Store, which was operated by Nan Hiers and Steven Schwen, in Lake City, Minnesota. Members joined as either working or participating members (with different levels of responsibility and voting privileges), shared information and expertise with one another and the community, and participated in joint marketing and purchasing.

Schwen also served on the Board of Directors of the Organic Growers and Buyers Association (OGBA), which offered an organic certification service. In 1990, largely due to the cost of organic certification, Full Circle members decided to form a Minnesota chapter of Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA), which had its own organic certification program. The Minnesota chapter of OCIA was established and met as an official chapter in November 1994.

Full Circle grew from its original few members to around twenty-five, and supplied produce primarily to food cooperatives and a natural foods café. In 2007, Full Circle growers in Wisconsin formed another cooperative known as Wisconsin Growers. Full Circle Organic Growers Cooperative continues as an informal entity, but sales records after that point use individual farm names.