Indigo Acres: Growing Organic
Kevin and Robin Marshall are so convinced that organic foods heal diseases that they started their own farm and donate a portion of the food to needy families with dire health issues.
The opening of Indigo Acres was the result of an “inner calling.” Kevin spent 35 years as a computer consultant, but he was ready for a change. Taking a leap of faith, he resigned, sold the house, and bought property in north Edmond—but he and Robin still felt unclear about their new lifestyle.
Kevin pondered as he worked in the garden. His favorite hobby, after all, was growing food. He’d had a small garden as a child, and as an adult, he’d escaped the stress of the corporate world by “playing in the dirt.” While digging, Kevin recalled a dream he’d had early on–to own a small acreage and give food away. A seminar he and and Robin had attended years ago, also came to mind. The speaker talked about the health risks of mainstream foods. “He said things that sounded crazy at the time, like how diet soda caused weight gain. Now many of his statements have been proven true.”
“We know food has healing properties, but one healthy meal isn’t enough. Many people with medical needs, such as cancer or autism, can’t afford organic foods, so we provide free produce to a few select families for a 26-week period,” Kevin said. As their three-year-old farm continues to expand, they hope to sponsor up to 35 families per year.
Kevin grows the food while Robin grows the business. Robin runs the marketing end of things, such as emailing customers, publishing recipes and managing promotions. Kevin focuses on soil management. “Dirt is a living ecosystem, and if you take care of the dirt, it takes care of the plants,” Kevin said. He starts each day with a morning walk-thru of the garden to determine what course of action is needed, whether it be weeding, seeding, or organic pest control.
The first time the Marshalls ran a booth at the Edmond Farmer’s Market, they knew they’d made the right decision when their first customer happily purchased their food. “Knowing people value our food makes the hard work worth it. They are shocked that organic, pesticide-free food tastes better. Kids say that our carrots taste great. We proudly tell our customers that our food is chemical free. Farmers who use chemicals don’t put up a sign saying, ‘We use chemicals.’”
Kevin believes that his many years in business have allowed him to apply the proper financial principles to making Indigo Acres successful. He plans to soon teach other farmers how to be profitable so that fewer family farms fail. “We are following a crop technique called Market Gardening, which is a small-scale production of food that has high yield on about an acre of land. Yes, you can earn a living this way! We’ve also invested in high-tunnel greenhouses, which allow us to grow food in the earth, not on raised tables, during the winter,” Kevin said. “We’ll be able to sell produce to customers and maybe even to restaurants during the cold season.”
Ultimately, the Marshalls are proud to make a living doing something they believe in—educating others on how to eat healthier. They delight in introducing families to new, healthy foods. Many customers are hesitant to try less-traditional produce, such as beets. “They are almost scared, but then they try it and are shocked to find that it is wonderful.”
For more information go to: www.facebook.com/IndigoAcres