Celestial Farms began in the spring of 2000. The original mission was a simple one: "to assist people of all abilities to enjoy the therapeutic benefits caring for a garden can provide". Caring for a garden teaches responsibility and patience. It also can help improve fine motor skills and have a calming effect. These are the things we want to share. In our early years, this was accomplished through providing assistive gardening tools, installing raised garden beds, and instructing clients how to garden in a way that is beneficial to them. Special gardens were also installed, like the one at Rutledge Pearson Elementary School, which includes “peace” tiles made by the children on benches that surround the garden area.
We always dreamed of having a large garden where people could come and share experiences. Over time, however, we felt a greater calling and in 2008 we expanded the organization to include all aspects of farming. This includes caring for animals and utilizing the products from the garden to become self-sufficient.
We hope to achieve our goal, to “Grow a Brighter Future” by helping to raise healthy and happy children in our summer camp program, educating the public on how to grow their own food and providing a garden space for them to practice those skills, and utilizing sustainable practices to nurture the plants and animals that share our lives. Through these practices, we nourish bodies, minds, and environment.
Of course we still want to continue the original mission statement by sharing the knowledge and skills of caring for a garden to receive the therapeutic benefits; however, the expansion of our goal gives us a greater opportunity to assist people in more ways. Here are a few examples:
The new farm has multiple gardens that are growing and changing with the needs of the farm and the people that we help. This includes a sensory garden with plants to touch, taste, and smell; a community garden where volunteers and families in need work together to bring healthy food to the families’ tables; a whimsical garden, populated with over-sized flowers made from teacups and saucers and friendly garden toads and gnomes, where the children scatter seeds.
The farm also has lots of animals, of course. Caring for animals has many well-known therapeutic benefits, and we do what we can to provide the opportunity to reap those benefits to people of all ages and abilities. If some of those are unable to come to the farm, we even bring the animals out for a visit. The children in our day care and camps enjoy these benefits more than most, as they help care for the animals and enjoy the companionship on a daily basis.
Celestial Therapeutic and Ornamental Gardens, Inc,
DBA: Celestial Farms
A Not-For-Profit Organization
13958 Duval Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32218