This blog is the third in a series featuring local farms. We are lucky to have a great group of farmers investing in our community, while providing local food to the FoCo Café, and families in the Fort Collins area.
Harvest Farm: Nourishment for the Soul
Many seeds are planted at Harvest Farm. Most of them have more to do with the hearts of men, than growing food. Love, acceptance, healing, and especially redemption are all what make this farm unique.
Harvest Farm is located north of Fort Collins, in Windsor. The Denver Rescue mission purchased the Farm in 1989 with the intent of long-term rehabilitation for men specifically. Why men? The Denver Rescue Mission saw men as an underserved population in regard to homelessness and substance abuse issues.
After almost 20 years, the farm has only grown stronger and now has the capacity to house 72 men full-time. According to Hannah Baltz-Smith, with the Denver Rescue Mission, the rehabilitation program generally lasts 13 months, depending on the participant. Recovering men come from all over the United States, and even Canada. The farm takes men back into the program for a second chance, if necessary, and all for no cost.
Like most farms, livestock and crops are found as far as the eye can see. Harvest Farm grows a variety of produce including squash, beans, tomatoes, garlic, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, and honey. The farm also has several livestock species including donkeys, goats, pigs, dairy cattle, and all-natural Angus beef.
Growing high quality food has never been easy. Life on the farm comes with a great deal of responsibility. Each rehabilitation participant is given a specific job ranging from caring for livestock and crops to facility maintenance and food preparation. According to Hannah Baltz-Smith, the program is truly specialized to meet each man at their specific need, while building a specific skillset.
Although Harvest Farm produces high quality food, the main objective is returning strong men back to strong communities. Maintaining the farm comes with a variety of interpersonal challenges that far exceed physical labor. Working with each other, supervisors, and farm animals encourages each participant to fully develop their communication and conflict-resolution skillset. In addition to working with one another, participants are responsible for individual care of farm animals. According to Hannah Baltz-Smith, work-therapy sessions with farm animals can be some of the most beneficial sessions because they provide a non-judgmental sounding board. With a chuckle and a smile, Hannah asked, “Who’s Vinny [the donkey] going to tell?”
The true goal of Harvest Farm is healing and long-term success for each participant. A bright future is generally dependent upon job placement. In addition to emotional and spiritual support, Harvest Farm is also a gateway to gaining valuable job experience. Not only do they help run the farm, participants also go through courses geared toward professional development and resume building.
Want to visit the farm? If you’d like to help out, contact the Denver Rescue Mission. They gladly accept both short and long-term volunteers. The farm probably has a need that fits your area of expertise from adult mentorship to kitchen prep and livestock care. Each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the month of October, Harvest Farm will also feature a Fall Festival. The public is welcome to join, and all proceeds go toward the farm. More information on the Fall Festival can be found at http://www.harvestfarm.net/fall-festival.
All produce that is not used at Harvest Farm can be purchased through their CSA program. They also sell all-natural Angus beef shares. Harvest Farm’s model is one of wholesomeness. Mind. Body. Spirit.
To learn more about Harvest Farm visit their website at http://www.harvestfarm.net/. Information on CSAs and pick up information in Fort Collins can be found at http://coloradocsas.info/csas/pickupCity/Fort%20Collins.