The Kevin Kilgus Family
At the conception of Living Water Farms, we (Kevin and Denise Kilgus) had been married for 26 years and had been blessed with a large family of 8 children. Our summers were nearly always filled with many outdoor activities revolving around the garden and fruit patches. Our motto was, “Many hands make light work”, and its adoption was strongly encouraged! With Kevin’s degrees in agronomy, we always had a ready resource to help deal with any problems that arose with the crops. Though the kids wouldn’t agree that the work was always fun, as they get older, they look back on those times with some degree of fondness. All three of our married daughters have gardens, so it must not have been all bad!
Our garden eventually turned into a larger truck patch, with spring, summer and fall crops, which we sold to various local markets. When the opportunity to grow year-round presented itself, it seemed to be a natural progression for us. We teamed up with our second daughter and her husband, Mark and Natalie Schneider to build what has become Living Water Farms. Since we had always included the whole family in our gardening, we brought them all in to help make some of the decisions regarding the farm – including the name! And yes, “Living Water Farms” does have two meanings to us. The obvious meaning is that our produce is sustained and has its life though the hydroponic waters we feed it. The second, and most important meaning to us is that we acknowledge that God is our spiritual “Living Water” from Whom all blessings flow and Who gives us our life and sustenance.
Co-Founders, Kevin & Denise Kilgus & family
Firefighter Turned Farmer
Working a 24 hour on-duty shift followed by a 48 hour off schedule as a professional firefighter in Champaign, Illinois left time to get back to my roots and help launch Living Water Farms. The original idea was to develop a side business to work in while continuing a career as a firefighter, however it quickly became clear that farming didn’t fit into those two days off…. Almost two years after we planted our first plants in the greenhouse, I left the fire department and jumped into the farm full time. While I miss the camaraderie of the firehouse, I enjoy working on the farm and making a difference in the local food movement.
Born and raised on a small turkey farm along with my brother Mark, I moved away to attend college in Champaign, IL. After receiving my masters in accounting from the University of Illinois and passing the CPA exam, I began a career in the white collar field of accounting. However, I have always dreamed of someday running my own business and when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance to make a real difference joining my brother and the Kilgus family in helping manage Living Water Farms as a partner. Today, I get satisfaction knowing that I am a vital part of the strategic planning for our farm as well as getting my hands dirty in the day to day farming.
– Partners Matthew and Katie Schneider & family