November 11, 2020; Elyse Erdman
Early into our initial Farm closure due to COVID-19, we realized that Zoom could be an effective tool in interacting with Growers. Weekly Zoom parties for Growers to interact with each other and Farm staff turned to daily parties. On Monday, June 1, 2020 we started to hold the Zoom Farm Parties for an hour every week day! The parties are completely free to Growers, prospective program participants, and family members, because we want everyone to have an opportunity to participate while stuck at home. Now that we had to close the Farm temporarily for 14 days, Zoom parties again became an essential way for our staff and Growers to communicate. The Zoom parties start with an introduction from Jim. He walks around the Farm to show the animals and gardens. Next, music therapist Kristyn Beeman encourages all participants to join her in singing a welcome song. Other activities that are included in Zoom parties include crafts, cooking, yoga, story reading, and more. Staff and Growers on the Farm head to the kitchen or craft room, and become the spotlight video on the Zoom party. They create the project, while giving step by step instructions for those following along at home. Some of the Fall crafts we are making on Zoom parties are owl pinecones, candy corn garlands, and thankful turkeys. We are cooking candied oranges, harvest hash chex mix, candied jalapenos, and more.
Pat Steely from Yoga for Kids gives a yoga class via Zoom that the Growers are eager to participate in. Staff are always thinking of creative activities such as pigcassos and horse lunging, to show Growers on Zoom.
Farm Zoom parties are not only fun for Growers, their families, and staff, but provide Growers with the opportunity for some mental and physical activity while at home. Please visit https://farmofhope.networkforgood.com/ to donate and support us in continuing providing free daily Zoom parties.
You can find video clips from Zoom parties on our YouTube channel, check them out here.
November 3, 2020; Elyse Erdman and Jim Gainer
As we navigate through many challenges this year, we want to stop and thank our gracious and hardworking staff. After our initial COVID-19 closure in late March, 2020, staff continued to come to the Farm to care for the miniature horses, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, rabbits, and other animals that reside on the farm. They also tended to the gardens and greenhouse to prepare for the Growers’ return. Finally on July 13, we were able to open the Farm program again at limited capacity. The Growers and staff were thrilled to get back to their animal and gardening chores, craft and cooking activities, and more. Unfortunately, on October 26, 2020 we again were forced to temporarily close our programs due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 among our staff. All the Growers who had direct contact with the staff member were notified, and all Growers and staff have been recommended to quarantine for 14 days. The programs are scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, November 11, 2020. Again, staff stepped up to the plate and are caring for the animals and gardens in a safe manner.
We want to thank all of our staff that are continuing to volunteer during this time of crisis. Your work is greatly appreciated.
To support the Farm and the return of Growers and programming, please visit https://farmofhope.networkforgood.com/.