Becoming Full Circle

Becoming Full Circle

Hi, I'm Robert, with Topeka Growers Group. It means a great deal that you trust us to provide your home with quality food and body products. Your interest in what we do has confirmed that there is a desire in Topeka for greater access to more sustainable food systems. Thank you!

I have some exciting news to share, but first a little backstory. The Growers Group was born out of a desire to make it easier to eat more sustainably. I had developed a passion for sustainable agriculture in my previous job organizing workshops on sustainable living. But in 2019, I found myself burnt out from the travel it required and also frustrated with how hard it was to access high-quality local produce, even when I was at home. I was driving around to get my pork from one farmer, my beef from another, and my veggies from somewhere else. I knew there had to be a better way!

While figuring out what the solution looked like, I met Justine. She shared a passion for food and sustainability, and from the moment we met, we started brainstorming ways to make it easier for busy people to live more sustainable lives. With her help, advice, and encouragement, I left my job and began talking with local producers about how we could collaborate. Things shifted in March 2020 when the pandemic lockdowns disrupted the producers’ traditional markets. As difficult as it was to find ourselves in that situation, it both clarified and expedited my plans.

I set to work helping the producers shift gears—aggregating their goods and selling online. In June 2020, we launched Topeka Growers Group with a weekly veggie box and soon added kombucha, honey, ferments, and more. Justine had been thinking for years about running a bulk food and soap store to reduce plastic waste and found her opportunity to contribute by launching the Full Circle Soap refill program. 

As we talked more about the new products we wanted to offer and the different projects we wanted to pursue, we realized that some of our earliest visions of a “sustainability hub” were coming into focus. We wanted to grow the grocery side of the Growers Group as well as create additional systems to support low-waste living. We wanted to provide community education and involve others in our efforts more directly. 

We’re proud to announce this has lead us to establishing Full Circle Sustainability, a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on developing systems to help our community live more sustainably. While we will eventually run a number of different programs, the keystone will be our sustainable food program.

Full Circle will incorporate and expand upon the Topeka Growers Group. In the coming weeks, you’ll see our Topeka Growers Group branding transform into Full Circle Sustainability. (It will still look pretty familiar—we wanted to make sure you’d recognize us!)

You’ll also see us steadily expanding our offerings. Be on the lookout for locally sourced beef, chicken, and tofu! Eventually, we’ll start carrying items sourced from outside the region when we can’t find local producers. Please know we will put a great deal of effort into sourcing them thoughtfully.

Lastly, we’d like to announce the opening of our new physical location! To coincide with our shift to Thursday evening deliveries, we’ll be open on Thursdays from 5:00-7:00 p.m. You can pick up your order instead of having it delivered, refill your own soap bottles, shop for additional items, try samples of kombucha and ferments, and drop off materials that can be recycled through the TerraCycle program.

Full Circle’s shop and education destination is located in the Community Resources Council's CARE Center at the former Stout Elementary School, 2303 SW College Ave. You can find us in Room 19 on Thursday evenings. 

Thank you for joining us on this next section of our journey. We certainly couldn’t have gotten this far without your support and hope we can continue earning that support as we go forward. We’ll keep you posted as our plans unfold! 

-Robert, Full Circle

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