Former punter transitioned to regenerative farming to create The WonderTree Farm, a farm-to-table business in central Indiana
NFL alum Hunter Smith’s life has taken him from the Texas ranch of his youth to a 145-acre farm northwest of Indianapolis.
The 45-year old Smith, who spent 10 years (1999-2008) punting for the Colts, has transitioned from a Super Bowl champion to the owner of The WonderTree Farm in Zionsville, Indiana.
His regenerative farming business now helps feed 4,000 of his neighbors and many others who travel within a 10-mile radius. The WonderTree Farm is a full-fledged farm-to-table business.
Smith bought 20 acres of land eight years ago for his wife Jennifer and their young family. He decided he would raise their four children in agriculture. Smith next bought some hens, chickens and cows in order to raise the family’s food.
"I just wanted to experiment with that concept of making our own food," Smith recently told the Indianapolis Star. "Just to see what would happen."
What did happen was that not only did the farm feed his own family but the scores of folks who drove to WonderTree on Saturdays for "farm days" of horse rides, animal feedings and food for purchase.
His business soon grew organically — literally and figuratively. Smith leased another 125 acres two miles from his original site to farm the new land. He has an option to buy the acreage after 10 years.
"Regenerative farming is really just the traditional farming people did hundreds of years ago," Smith explained. "Regenerative farming is using animals to build soil, sequester carbon and increase organic matter in the soil."
It sounds as if this Indiana farm life has won over the young Texas native.
"I feel like I was a football player as a means to do this," Smith said. "To have a place here in the community where I can promote this kind of life, I can’t tell you how much I love it. It’s my favorite thing in the world. I am alone out here a lot but it’s not like you’re here just singing John Denver songs, and everything is ok all the time. But I’d rather be doing this than anything else."
This interview originally appeared on NFLAlumni.org.
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