When you turn off of Harbor road in Shelburne onto the winding dirt path that will lead you to New Village Farm, one of the first things you’ll see is a sign that reads: You Belong. Having spent a day at New Village farm with a group of Vermont Mom writers and their children, I can say, no matter your past or present, at New Village Farm – you truly do belong.
Vermont Mom writers and their children had a wonderful outing to New Village Farm last weekend for team-building and fun, and we couldn’t have been more delighted with our visit. We played with the friendliest goats, petted baby bunnies and helped them cool off with blocks of ice, collected eggs from inquisitive hens, wrapped raw wool into soft bracelets, climbed trees, and had a delicious lunch under a leafy canopy.
If you were to ask the majority of the children and moms, I think the goats were the highlight. We were able to witness as they were called to their pen and then we were even able to enter the pen with them! Holding, snuggling, and nuzzling on these serious-looking goats was life-giving and we just could not get enough! Some of our younger children also made friends with the bunnies and I overheard more than one mom negotiating the potential of future bunny ownership with their kiddo (keep reading to find out more about an exciting alternate option…) This visit showed us some of the most beautiful parts of Vermont summer and we left sweaty, sunburned, and deeply relaxed.
New Village Farm is a hidden gem and a wonderful place for children to gain confidence and for children and adults alike to reconnect with nature. It’s hard to know what to highlight first about this magical place.
To start, New Village Farm offers full-year programming for adults and children, but the majority of offerings are for children ages 5-11. What mom isn’t always on the lookout for summer camps? New Village Farm offers an introductory farm camp for kiddos as young as 5 and 6, a Farm and Garden camp for those aged 6-11, a more serious Crew camp for kids who want to learn farm chores, and CITs for our older kids, 12+ who long to maintain their connection and commitment to this working farm.
If you’ve already shifted your thinking to the next school year, check out the after-school programming, or one-day-per-week farm school while school is in session. They even offer seasonal workshops, too! You will absolutely find something that fits your family and their interests at New Village Farm.
Now, as I mentioned before, if your kiddos are begging you for bunnies but you’re just not ready for that type of commitment, New Village Farm offers… wait for it… animal rental! You can bring the magic of the farmyard home with you! Options for animal rentals include chick hatch and care program, a bunny program, a goat program, and laying hens. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling we might try out those bunnies first!
What can I say, New Village Farm offers a wide variety of programs and activities that are well suited to people of all ages.
If you were lucky enough to have grown up in the country, then you know what it’s like to have long, aimless days spent outside on the various missions of childhood. Planning, building, exploring, and working with others and alone were all typical parts of summer days when I was a child. Now, children have more intense and restricted schedules and less time than ever to be free in nature. New Village Farm is an educational working farm that empowers children to learn, take responsibility, explore, build community, and learn stewardship of both land and animals. It’s a place where kids can gain experience and confidence with gentle supervision.
Research abounds these days about the value of outdoor time for children, indeed much of it recommends a minimum of 3 hours per day outside. Uneven ground builds coordination and improves our core strength and balance, as do all forms of scrambling, rolling, running, climbing, and general horseplay. Outdoor time in your yard and neighborhood is great, but outdoor time on a working farm with goats, chickens, cows, and dogs is so much more meaningful. Being with animals and on a working farm teaches children to be at home in their bodies and their world.
You can also stop by New Village Farm to purchase raw cow and goat milk from their happy herds, buy pasture-raised chickens, eggs, and grass-fed beef, and buy veggies, herbs, and fresh flowers. Their self-serve farmstand is open from 8 AM until dusk seven days a week.
There is nothing like spending the day on a working farm. Except, of course, spending the day on a working farm with kids. You get to experience it all through their wonder-filled eyes. The excitement, the freedom, the pure joy, and elation. A working farm is truly a paradise for kids- good for their bodies and souls.
Who doesn’t want their kids to learn new skills, take on responsibility, feel empowered, and become a part of this tight-knit community? At New Village Farm, you and your kiddos will experience that – and so much more! After all, it takes a village.
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