Affinity Farm invites locals for community tour

Owners want to spread mission of eating from local vendors, farms



Kelly Kingsland, left, and Russell Poe, co-owners of Affinity Farm, share their experiences about running a small farm during a tour Monday evening. They only use organic methods to grow produce for their customers and said they strive to work with minimal outside input.

ZACH GOFF, Evergreen reporter

Russell Poe and Kelly Kingsland usually hired help to assist with Affinity Farm, their one-acre farm they created 17 years ago. They opted to work alone this year.

Poe and Kingsland annually invite community members to come to the farm for a tour of what a small-business farm looks like and how it operates.

Poe said each time someone comes to the farm they are usually surprised by how much has changed. The farm is always trying something new, like the new plot covers Affinity is using this year to try and get the best selection of crops available.

Kingsland said this community connection and outreach has allowed people the chance to come and ask questions on how best to improve their own home growing.

Poe and Kingsland enjoy farming on a local farm focused on producing high-nutrient products.

“It feels good to know our carbon footprint is so small and helping others be more mindful about theirs too,” said Kingsland.

Poe and Kingsland keep a small portion of their produce to make sure the product is the best it can be. They said this holds them accountable for quality.

The company’s mission is to engage in conscious lifestyle producing healthy food for their customers while decreasing their environmental impact, according to their website.

Poe and Kingsland were happy to explain things in a more understandable context even to those without the background knowledge. They said their goal is to educate.

Poe’s advice for anyone looking into farming or gardening was that “The ability to be a good farmer is determined by your ability to say no.”

Poe said the farm maintained its success through the years knowing what crops are most financially successful and avoiding some of the very specific requests for food that don’t make as much money.

Being involved in the community and interacting with the customers on a personal level is one of her and Poe’s favorite parts of the job, Kingsland said.

“Go out and support local businesses,” Kingsland said, “because people don’t realize how much money and effort it takes to keep these sorts of businesses afloat.”