“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.” – Wendell Berry
The cold weather has moved in for many of us, which means putting our gardens to rest for the winter. It also means the closing of Farmers Markets and CSA’s and our other access to direct fresh farm food (my heart is sad even writing about it.). However, Katrina and I had the joy of interviewing Matthew and Ann from Atom Acres Family Farm who are making great strides in year long food production on their three acre farm in Ft. Wayne, IN to combat this void in the food system.
We spent hours walking around the property and talking food, life, purpose, family, enjoyment. All of our kids ran off first thing to play with the kittens, to run the fields, and swing on the playscape. Later we found them covered in the rich deep red juice of Mulberries after spending time picking from the trees in the orchard. (Yes there is even an orchard with plans to expand!) This couple is passionate about real food and making sure that a greater scope of folks have access to chemical free food all year long.
Growing up on a community ranch in Washington state, Ann is no stranger to farm work and living off the land. Matt’s love of fresh food and nutrition and respecting the earth and our bodies is how these two met and found a kindred spirit in one another. Wanting to settle down near family, they choose Indiana where Matt is from and his family still lives close and are able to help out.
Listening to this pair is fascinating and educational. Their knowledge of food, production and natural responses to bugs and disease showed me how committed they are to ensuring that food stays in its purest form. Matt studied organic farming at Michigan State University, and listening to both him and Ann discuss their craft, you know they are always researching, studying and learning.
As we were walking and touring all the hoop houses, which is critical in their year long food production, I grew more in awe of this couple who are dedicating their life to a conviction of being stewards of the land and creating food for the enrichment of the human body. Where so many give lip service to a healthy life, this family, their livelihood, all their time and funding goes to living out this core belief and principle.
Matt and Ann currently have chickens, an orchard, multiple hoop houses, and open farm land. Their dreams are endless though as they plan for a possible market on site, family tours and activities, U-pick orchard, scavenger hunts, a very real family fun food destination site. They not only want to provide real chemical free food, but they want to build community, teach the next generation, get families involved so that more of us carry the knowledge of the importance of health, food and the land that gives it to us.
Atom Acres is a farm carved out of devotion and filled with love. This family that finds such joy in each other and their work open their home to friends and strangers alike. They are not only a valuable resource but such an inspiration in how one family found their own way in living out their dream and purpose. It is a risky, gritty, deep and rich life, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you live in the area or are interested in chatting with Matthew and Ann about year long farming, purchasing vegetables, or want to take a tour, contact them through the website, ATOM Acres.
You can also keep up with their progress and where they are selling veggies from their Facebook page, Atom Acres Family Farm.