Harvest Festival raises funds for nonprofit Nature Nurtures Farm

Staff writerOctober 12, 2013 

Hundreds of people visited a Delphi Road farm Saturday to help a nonprofit that helps troubled children.

Nature Nurtures Farm operates a summer day camp and a mentoring program that connects at-risk youths with the animals on the farm west of Olympia, teaching them to build empathy and sympathy, executive director Nicole Peters said.

Nature Nurtures Farm hopes to raise about $30,000 to meet the requirements of a Thurston County special-use permit, including the cost to drill a new well, as well as engineering services for a public water system, parking and site drainage, according to the fundraising website indiegogo.com. So far the nonprofit has raised about $12,900; the goal of Saturday’s Harvest Festival at the farm was to raise $6,000, Peters said.

Admission was $10 for anyone 5 or older; by about 1:30 p.m., almost 200 people had visited the farm. Saturday activities included live bluegrass music, farm animals, visits to the pumpkin patch and picture-taking on a classic tractor.

Nature Nurtures Farm was incorporated in 2012, Peters said. It’s a nonprofit partly inspired by her experience of working with at-risk youths and animals when she was a teen.

So far the summer day camp has served about 200 children, while the mentoring program has worked with almost 30 children and teens.

The summer day camp helps to pay for the mentoring program, Peters said.

The day camp is open to children 4 and older, while the mentoring program is open to at-risk children and teens from about 7 to 18.

Kris Kinnear of Olympia serves on the board. Her introduction to Nature Nurtures Farm was through her 10-year-old son, who joined the mentoring program about nine months ago.

Kinnear, a single mother, said her son’s father chose not to be a part of his life, so he has had no male role model.

But the mentoring program has connected him with an adult, and the two spend two hours during the weekend at the farm, helping with chores or grooming horses.

Kinnear said that before the program, her son was depressed and introverted, and seemed “stuck in his own sadness.” But since joining the program, she said, he is happier and has shown more compassion and more willingness to help.

“It’s helped him take off his blinders a bit,” Kinnear said.

More fundraising events are planned, including an event from 2-5 p.m. Oct. 20 at the State Capital Museum in Olympia. The event is free, but donations are welcome, Peters said. A holiday festival also is set for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 7 at the farm.

Nature Nurtures Farm is at 2406 Delphi Road SW, Olympia.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403

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