Last week we got to go to a local farm called Abundant Blessings Farm…local farmers are the best!  The owners of this particular farm give really cool tours and offer lots of opportunities for school groups.  I was able to grab an interview with one of the farmers—Mrs. Kay Shinn (she and her hubby Charlie own the farm).  We had such a wonderful time, and I want to encourage everyone to visit Abundant Blessings Farm.  If you don’t live close by, find a farm near you and visit!

Enjoy the interview and the pictures from our visit!

Kay brought out a friendly hen for the girls to pet.

How long have you and Charlie owned your farm? 

Charlie is a 4th generation Floridian raising citrus.  He and I have owned our own 20 acre farm for over 20 years.  We built our home out in our grove in 1999 and our only farming operation was citrus until 2009 when we added a cow, then 2 woolly sheep showed up one Christmas, then the horse, Uno joined our family when it was time for him to retire from the Polo world.  The next group of sheep (6 ewes and 1 ram) joined the farm family in 2009, and last year the 2 Great Pyrennes became part of the farm family.  We have had traditional gardens for our own food for the past 5 years and we started the vertical garden/hydroponics this past summer.

How did the name of your farm, Abundant Blessings Farm, come about?

One rainy afternoon, the whole family was sitting out on the porch discussing what we should call our farm.  We were all in agreement that the name needed to reflect the beauty and blessings God has provided for us here.  We tried a number of different names, but we all agreed that the reality is that we are abundantly blessed and we feel called to share our blessings with others.  Hence, we all agreed that Abundant Blessings was perfect!

What is your favorite thing about being a farmer?

My favorite part of being a farmer is being able to see first-hand all the beauty that God has provided.  It is all around me: the sunrises and sunsets are amazing; the animals quietly grazing; the miracle of seeing lambs born; butterflies flitting about; birds singing; the magnificent scents from the orange blossoms and the peace and satisfaction that comes from having a successful growing season; and the hope of being able to help not only our own family, but help feed those who are in need.

What is the goal of your farm? 

The first and foremost goal for our farm is  to honor God through all that we do.  Secondly, we would like to provide locally grown produce for our community in an effort to increase the awareness of how much food is available locally, which will also help support sustainable agriculture and decrease our dependency on other countries for our food. We would also like to share the “farm” experience with others through our farm tours and offer educational field trips and retreats.  Last but not at all least in importance, we feel led to help those who are hungry in our own community.  10% of all that we earn through the farm will be donated to the Treasure Coast Food Bank, along with any overage of produce that we grow.  We are firm believers of, “What you do for the least of these, you do for me…”(Matt. 25:41-46)

You had mentioned reaching out to classes and homeschooling groups.  What can these groups expect to see and do during a trip to your farm

Abundant Blessings Farm field trips provide a positive and fun farm experience while teaching through grade specific, interactive & interdisciplinary activities.  Field trips can be customized to enhance requested    areas of study and meet Sunshine State Standards through a variety of hands-on math & the scientific method. Examples include:   Florida History, Economics, Conservation, and Life Cycles.

FUN & INTERACACTIVE FARM FIELD TRIPS may include, but are not limited to:
* Harvest Festival
* A Land Remembered
* Health & Nutrition
* From Farm to Table
* All About Plants
* Farm Living is the Life for Me
* Going Green
* Spring Fling


Talk about Charlie’s job with the Farm Bureau and how he advocates for farmers like yourselves.

Charlie works for Florida Farm Bureau Federation as a voice for agriculture at numerous meetings with county, state and federal agencies.  Farmers are very hard workers and have little time to leave the farm fields to attend meetings and speak for their occupation.  Farmers do everything they can to take care of their land because it is the land that takes care of them.  Because farming takes a lot of land, many people and government agencies create plans for that land that are not always in the best interest of the farmer or the farm.  Rules and regulations that were created in good faith can at times stifle the farmer’s ability to farm to the point that they must sell the land.  When this happens, typically housing comes in and the land is lost forever to farming.

Florida Farm Bureau understands that we must all work together and Charlie works diligently to seek consensus that will allow the farmer to remain on their land.

For more information about Abundant Blessings Farm and the Shinn family, visit their website:

http://abundantblessingsfarm.wordpress.com/

The girls are getting to see where the hens lay their eggs.

They even got to get the eggs out of the nests!

The farm house is there on the right.

These are the two dogs with the special job of guarding the sheep to protect them from coyotes and other hungry animals…and a rare picture of me.

Charlie brought out a lamb for the girls to meet. He was a spunky little guy.

To the right is the Shinn’s butterfly garden, which they are in the process of making fabulous, and straight ahead are some of the trees that make up their orange groves. I tell ya, this place is just wonderful!

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