South Whidbey farmer has small plants for future

Full Cycle Farm will be giving away 100 saplings — free of charge — starting on Black Friday.

Many people who celebrate Christmas are accustomed to cutting down a tree in the days after Thanksgiving.

A South Whidbey farm owner is hoping people might also consider doing the opposite — planting a tree.

Full Cycle Farm, which has a farm stand located at the intersection of Maxwelton and Quade roads, will be giving away 100 saplings — free of charge — starting on Black Friday.

People will also be able to come by Saturday and Sunday to pick one up, as long as supplies last.

Farm stand hours are 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Other trees, shrubs and wreaths will also be for sale at the stand.

Owner Eric Conn explained that the tree giveaway is an opportunity for people to take a small step towards combating climate change, especially when considering all the trees lost to wildfires this year.

“We decided to do it on Black Friday so people could think about doing something that gives back to the earth and the environment,” he said.

Conn especially wants to make a difference with his son’s future in mind. Thinking about improving the climate for the next generation is definitely one of his motivations.

He said he drew inspiration from Plant-for-the-Planet, an international organization that has planted 13 billion trees in the last decade.

Planting trees, he added, is an inexpensive and simple solution to help the environment.

“Anybody can plant a tree,” Conn said. “It’s really easy. You don’t have to buy an electric car or put solar panels on your roof. You don’t have to do any of these things that cost a lot of money.”

The owners of Full Cycle Farm have always been passionate about regenerative agriculture, but within the past few years, planting trees has become a focus.

Conn said he has planted 275 trees on the farm’s three acres, 100 of which are fruit-bearing trees. Last fall, he planted 100 trees that will now be given away.

The trees that are up for grabs are Oregon white oaks — also referred to as Garry oaks — as well as smaller quantities of hazelnuts, walnuts, grand firs, big leaf maples and red cedars.

“By planting more of those, it brings back part of Whidbey’s heritage in a way,” Conn said about the Garry oaks, which he has an abundance of this year.

Contrary to what some people may think, he explained that fall is the best time to plant a tree. The roots are able to take hold better, and the tree will more likely be able to survive the summer drought than if it had been planted in spring.

Conn pointed out that there are still so many open places on Whidbey where trees could be planted. He is currently looking for an additional 10-20 acres of land to further his tree-planting efforts.

If people need help planting a tree, he is offering “planting parties.” He has several volunteers, he said, who would be happy to help someone plant trees on their land.

He acknowledged that the amount of trees he is offering this year may not seem like much.

“This is a drop in the bucket,” Conn said. “One hundred trees is nothing compared to a trillion, but it’s something I figured I could do. And every little bit helps.”

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