It's April and the seeds that I've planted during the months of February and March are now beginning to grow! During those months, I searched for a way to combine my passion for farms with my life's purpose, which is now clear to me, healing. In my single minded quest to make that happen, I searched the internet; I searched the literature; I searched my heart. I even asked, regularly, for divine guidance and here's what I found...Care Farming.
Care Farming is the therapeutic use of farming practices. Care farms:
- Utilize the whole or part of a farm
- Provide health, social or educational care services for one or a range of vulnerable groups of people
- Provide a supervised, structured program of farming-related activities
Although the concept of Care Farming is being implemented throughout the rest of the world, here in the US, it has only recently started to be recognized. In fact, the governments of the UK, Scotland and the Netherlands actually reimburse their participating Care Farms. When I discovered the concept, I knew that I had found what I had been looking for and I set off manifesting my own version of a Care Farm.
As you all know, I know a lot of farmers and farms so, where to put my first Care Farm was not a worry for me. It was who would believe in my vision of a Care Farm enough to be a part of my first Care Farm? And, like all things that were absolutely meant to be...that organization entered my life, The Autism Tree Project Foundation.
The Autism Tree Project Foundation (ATPF), which was founded in 2003, is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving communities in San Diego County and The Bay Area by assisting with Education, Advocacy, Early Intervention Preschool Screening, Research and Mentoring for families impacted by autism. ATPF also provides free Early Intervention Preschool Screenings to over 2,000 youth annually with 10,794 preschoolers screened to date since 2006.
A little over a month ago, in a strange twist of fate, ATPF announced that they intended to start a new program-Food, Farming and Nutrition and were searching to see how they could make that program come to life. As I have learned, if things were meant to be, they will happen. And that is exactly what happened. Three weeks ago, I was invited to attend ATPF's quarterly meeting, where I would met with the founder, her son and many other volunteers and participants in ATPF. I was profoundly touched by their selfless work!
Fast forward to yesterday, when I met with Lisa Kauffman the program director and Caitylyn, who is their grant writer extraordinaire. We discussed their Food, Farms and Nutrition program. Again, I was incredibly inspired by their mission and goals, which are completely in alignment with mine. And like that, my dream of creating a Care Farm began to come true.
As I write this blog, I have already received agreement from a local farm that would love to host our program. More importantly, I have the passion of the ATPF, who believe like I do that a farm is a healing space and that within that healing space, their autistic children will not only heal, but will also flourish, from being nourished by the earth. Finally you can bet that I will flourish too by continuing to follow my life purpose; having the courage to let go of things that don't serve that purpose and by letting love guide all my actions. How about you?