Check out this excerpt from a great article by Tori Thiessen at the Williamson Herald. View the full article on the Williamson Herald here.
After running her own farm for 10 years, Fly is creating something she has dreamed about for a long time: an adaptive pumpkin patch. This project combines her love for nature and her heart for children with disabilities, the former she inherited from her mother, who used to teach biology.
Fly said that while growing up she wasn’t even allowed to squish an ant. Her mother’s admiration for each living thing instilled the same passion deep within her as a child. This passion, she said, flows from nature’s affirmation of her Christian faith.
“When I would go on the field trips with my children, I’d notice the kids in wheelchairs. They couldn’t go, and it always bothered me,” she said, explaining that this inspired her to create an adaptive pumpkin patch on her farm. “I know what a love of nature I have … so that’s really why it’s been on my heart for so long, and I’m just sad that I’m just now getting to it.”
Fly has been preparing her farm for a free three-hour event dubbed “Puppies and Pumpkins.” It will be chock-full of fall-flavored activities, such as pumpkin picking and painting, pumpkin bowling, an adaptive hay ride, a bonfire, a sensory booth and what she called “punkin’ chunkin’,” where kids can launch pumpkins at scarecrow targets. Kids will also get to cuddle and play with assistance dogs.
To navigate the logistical side, Fly recruited the help of Amy Saffell, executive director of ABLE Youth, an organization that runs adaptable sports clubs and community events for children and young adults with disabilities.
“I was at the Franklin Farmers Market, and I was buying some tomatoes from (Fly) actually, and she was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I have this thing I’m considering doing, and I would love your help,’” Saffell said. “She told me all about it, and it sounded like something great to be involved in, and it was right up the alley of our kids.”
To address these issues, Fly has created a wooden path that winds throughout the patch, and she will elevate the pumpkins so children will not have to reach to the ground.