Marty Travis, a former furniture maker turned farmer, co-owns and operates Spence Farm in Illinois with his son, Will. Spence Farm grows a wide array of heirloom and native crops, heritage animals, and a huge diversity of agricultural opportunities on the 160 acres. Marty embraced sustainable farming, catering to Chicago’s restaurant community. This unique partnership led to a thriving and sustainable business prioritizing soil health, livestock, and community relationships.

The farm model evolved to support individual families in response to the Covid crisis and the closing of most restaurants during lockdowns. Leading a cooperative of farmers, the Travis family now serves numerous restaurants in Chicago and over 1,000 families, contributing to a positive shift in the food landscape in their area.

In this episode, John and Marty discuss:

  • The value of involving and mentoring young people in agriculture
  • The challenges in managing growth and growing the number of farmer-to-farmer hubs
  • The game-changing shift from selling per ton to per pound, enhancing profitability
  • The emphasis on small plots and strategic crop choices for maximum revenue
  • The positive impacts of increased soil biology on drought resistance, plant health, and reduced pest and disease pressure
  • The use and outcomes of using Advancing Eco Agriculture products

Additional Resources
To order a copy of Marty’s new book, My Farmer, My Customer, visit:

To learn more about Spence Farms, visit:

About John Kempf
John Kempf is the founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture (AEA). A top expert in biological and regenerative farming, John founded AEA in 2006 to help fellow farmers by providing the education, tools, and strategies that will have a global effect on the food supply and those who grow it.​

Through intense study and the knowledge gleaned from many industry leaders, John is building a comprehensive systems-based approach to plant nutrition – a system solidly based on the sciences of plant physiology, mineral nutrition, and soil microbiology.

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow
Since 2006, AEA has been on a mission to help growers become more resilient, efficient, and profitable with regenerative agriculture.

AEA works directly with growers to apply its unique line of liquid mineral crop nutrition products and biological inoculants. Informed by cutting-edge plant and soil data-gathering techniques, AEA’s science-based programs empower farm operations to meet the crop quality markers that matter the most.

AEA has created real and lasting change on millions of acres with its products and data-driven services by working hand-in-hand with growers to produce healthier soil, stronger crops, and higher profits.

Beyond working on the ground with growers, AEA leads in regenerative agriculture media and education, producing and distributing the popular and highly-regarded Regenerative Agriculture Podcast, inspiring webinars, and other educational content that serve as go-to resources for growers worldwide.

Learn more about AEA’s regenerative programs and products:


VIDEO: To learn more from John Kempf about regenerative agriculture, watch this conversation between John and three AEA grower partners about how regenerative agriculture is changing lives and conventional farming: