Have you wondered what exactly it is we DO at Nature Nurtures Farm? You are not alone! As an organization working in the emerging field of human animal connection we are used to people being confused by us. We also serve lots of kids very publicly in our Summer Camps and Early Learning programs, so you would be forgiven for assuming we are a summer camp or a childcare center alone, but we do lots of other things too.
Sisters Nicole and Julie Peters founded Nature Nurtures Farm in 2012 as a way to allow many more children to experience pieces of the wonderful childhood they had growing up on a farm. What this looks like varies from program to program, but in general it includes opportunities for youth to interact with and build relationships with non-human animals, with the goal of building emotional, communication, and social skills.
Nicole first found her passion for human-animal connection work in a volunteer job at a recreational farm program for a youth residential treatment facility when she was a teenager. This, combined with experiencing first hand the grounding, challenging, balancing, confidence building, calming, and just amazingly enriching experience of a childhood on a farm surrounded by animal friends, led to Nicole's and Julie’s passion to start this organization.
After years of visioning and planning, Nature Nurtures Farm was incorporated in 2012, and earned its tax exempt status in 2014. The organization began with a very small farm based youth mentoring program and summer camp program in 2012, added community service, volunteerism and internship opportunities in 2013, expanded the mentoring program and camp scholarship program in 2014, opened an early learning center in late 2015 via an acquisition, and added Farm and Forest Preschool, Farm Start, Farm Club, and Service Learning in 2017. We continually try to find the balance between the growing needs of the community and our ability to serve the community well with the unique programs we offer.
One of the things about farms, or really about animals, is that their needs dictate the pace, priorities, and tenor of all things that happen at the farm. The side effect of this reality is that the community that has developed at the farm comes from incredibly diverse backgrounds, and comes to us for many reasons, but in the end meeting the needs of the animals brings a wide range of people together in service of that common goal. This farm milieu has become a welcoming and nourishing space for many people with many different needs. We are thrilled to see how many people are already benefiting from the farm, and excited at what the future holds.