Celestial Farms is hosting a free family day to benefit the organization’s animal rescue program. Hug-A-Farm-Animal Day is held from 10 am to 3 pm Sept 12 at 13958 Duval Road. Guests are invited to explore the farm and gardens, pet many of the rescued farm animals and stroll through the local vendors and artisans. Children can enjoy the safe, play area and bounce house. Refreshments will be available (www.celestialfarms.org).
Founded in 2000, Celestial Farms is a therapeutic garden, educational facility and livestock rescue with the simple mission “to grow a brighter future” by providing assistive gardening tools, raised garden beds and utilizing a sensory garden with plants to touch, taste, and smell.
The farm also has lots of animals, of course. Caring for animals has many therapeutic benefits, and Celestial Farms provides that opportunity for people of all ages and abilities, even delivering that experience to those are unable to come to the farm. Several new rescue animals including Bob the Sheep, Lilly the Horse, HillyBilly the Goat and several rabbits and chickens, recently joined the current residents and the enclosures are bursting at the seams.
“We need to build new homes for our new residents to keep everyone dry and happy. We’ve been high and dry in the past, being 35 feet above sea level, but the recent trends in the southeast towards increasingly wet weather have eroded field conditions and left us a muddy mess in the goat, pig, rabbit and pheasant yards. This incoming hurricane season is no help either. We need help.”
Creating safe living conditions for the animal tenants will require sand, gravel, lumber, fencing, tarps, concrete and tool rental with an estimated cost of $4,000. Celestial Farms established the “Goats Hate Wet Feet” donation site at https://www.crowdrise.com/celestialfarmslivest to raise the funds needed to purchase materials. Staff and volunteers will manage the improvements and are also accepting donated supplies and volunteers to help complete the project.
“With these improvements, we will be able to keep our residents dry, safe, and happy for years to come. We will also be able to improve conditions for visitors, students, and volunteers. These improvements will also make it easier to do maintenance around the farm, freeing us up for other tasks and activates, such as home canning and preservation, gardening, farming, pony rides, fun kids time, and classes in all of the previous,” the staff says. “If you are local to Jacksonville, you can also help us out by donating materials, tools, and your time! Any sand, gravel, lumber, tarps, fencing, concrete, nails, screws, hand tools, and time you can donate towards this project means funds can be directed to other farm projects.”
Celestial Farms is located on the north side of Jacksonville, within a few miles of both the Jacksonville International Airport and River City Marketplace, on Duval Road between Airport Road and Biscayne Blvd/Pecan Park Road. They offer onsite day care and preschool, special home school days, weekly yoga classes and instruction in cheese making, soap making, canning, disaster preparedness, essential oils and aromatherapy and a monthly free parenting workshop in partnership with the Early Learning Coalition of Duval.
Celestial Farms also hosts a craft fair twice a year and invite many of our volunteers and the families who come to our classes to join other local artisans to sell their wares from produce, bath products, hand-crafted wood furniture, honey, hand-knit items, original paintings, recycled and upcycled items, jams and preserves and other hand-made items.