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.