Indiana couple finds place in the sustainable farming scene
RUSSIAVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Adam and Claire Trost are self-described unlikely farmers.
Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, Claire said the corporate community around her was well-educated but “asleep” when it came to the farming scene and how food was produced.
And while Adam grew up in the country and eventually became vice-president of operations for Indiana Farm Systems — which builds grain bins and storage for farmers — he also really had no connection to livestock farming.
But that all changed in 2013, when the two officially settled down and established Bent Arrow Acres on the same property Adam grew up on just outside of Russiaville.
“Food had always been a passion of mine, and farm to table was kind of coming onto the scene at that time,” Claire said. “So I decided I wanted to have a garden, and I told Adam about it. He was on board, so he did some research and said that if we were going to have a garden, you had to have chickens to help the garden with pest control and making the soil stronger. So it was really a backyard garden that started everything and a passion for good food with the freshest and best ingredients.”
Because of the weather, the Trosts were not able to plant herbs and vegetables this year, but the family does still have cattle, swine and about 250 chickens on their roughly 40 acres of land.
Bent Arrow Acres is what is referred to as sustainable farming, which means the Trosts practice techniques that are not only good for the community, but they’re good for the environment as well.
“We’re a pasture-based farm, so all of our animals are out on pasture and being rotated through the pasture to try to improve the soil and grow the best quality products,” Adam said. “And in order to perform best and have the best environment, it takes certain nuances. Our chickens (egg layers and meat variety) and pigs have to move so many days, and our cows (100 % grass fed) have to move every day, so it’s constant change.”
It’s also a lot of hard work, the couple said. It’s a process they often talk about on their farm’s website www.bentarrowacres.com.
“It changed our lifestyle a lot,” Claire said. “We used to love to travel and do weeks in Europe or a long weekend in Denver, but it’s really anchored us to Russiaville. But this time in our lives with young kids, it’s an ok anchor to have really.”
Those children, three-year-old Theo and 19-month-old Savannah, also love to help out around the farm, which both Adam and Claire said is an added bonus.
“You can’t be expected to know what you’re not taught,” Claire said. “So part of what I’m doing in raising my kids and in my other business (food publication Edible Indy) is the education piece. We want to be transparent in showing that this is how it works, and this is where food ultimately comes from. I love that they’re seeing the work that goes into all of it and how food is produced, but it’s also about having respect for animal life and all that really goes into putting a meal on the table.”
Adam agreed, saying he hopes that life on the farm teaches his kids lessons that will last long into adulthood.
“I hope it gives them a sense of empowerment that they can do something when they put their minds to it,” he said. “They can look at all this and know that they can accomplish something too.”
And though it’s only been six years since Bent Arrow Acres was established, the Trosts have big dreams for the farm’s future. Already in partnership with places like Waddell’s IGA in Russiaville, an Indianapolis-based website called Market Wagon and farmer’s markets in Kokomo and Chicago, the Trosts said they hope their farm will continue to grow and maybe even expand into outside employment.
But in the meantime, the Trosts are just happy right where they’re at, and both Adam and Claire said they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Just the other day, I was having dinner on Massachusetts Avenue, and I saw a lot of people our age just out after work and going to enjoy restaurants,” Claire said. “And I thought, ‘Oh man, what would life be like if that was us?’ What if we just lived in a condo and didn’t have a yard or animals to take care of, would we still be happy? And then the next thought was, ‘That’s coming a long way for me to be able to say that we would be.’”
Source: Kokomo Tribune
Information from: Kokomo Tribune, http://www.ktonline.com