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Harvest Hope Farm offers youth an authentic farming experience

Harvest Hope Farm hosts summer camps that allow youth to experience what life is like on the farm. While it is only for a few hours a day, the little ones get to be immersed in not only the great outdoors, but agriculture as well.

Llama campers
Children ages 3-5 explored the wooded area of Harvest Hope Farm during their time at llama camp. Photo taken June 6, 2022, near Moorhead, Minnesota.
Emily Beal / Agweek
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MOORHEAD, Minn. — Nestled within the trees just north of Moorhead, you’ll hear an abundance of laughter mixed in with the pitter patter of little feet and the constant chorus of sheep bleating in the distance. Harvest Hope Farm hosts summer camps in this country oasis, allowing youth to experience what life is like on the farm. While it is only for a few hours a day, the little ones get to be immersed in not only the great outdoors, but agriculture as well.

Lynn Kotrba and her husband Jason, purchased the farm in 2015 and wanted to offer a learning environment for others to enjoy. Thus, Harvest Hope Farm was born.

llamas
Campers that attend llama camp, learn about livestock, including llamas. Photo taken June 6, 2022 by Moorhead, Minn.
Emily Beal / Agweek

“We just wanted to be able to share it with other people,” Lynn Kotrba said. “So we just thought if we could find a way to bless other families with children and to share the outdoors and share what farm life is like for others, that would be a great way to bless our community. We just believe in using what you have and the time you have to benefit those around you. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

The Kotrbas have eight children and wanted to offer their home to other families and the community. Harvest Hope Farm offers youth summer camps where children can get to truly experience what life on the farm is like. Their llama camp is for children ages 3-5 and their farm camp is for children ages 6-13. During their time on the farm, campers learn about wool, how to care for livestock, how to raise a garden and much more. The campers are also taught how to work well and get along with others, according to Kotrba, this will help them with emotional and social development.

For many campers, these camps allow them to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and experience a rural atmosphere. Sarah Hewitt signed her 3-year-old son Arlo up for llama camp in an effort to give him more time in nature.

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Arlo Heww
Sarah Hewitt pickingup her 3-year-old son, Arlo, from llama camp. Photo taken June 6, 2022 by Moorhead, Minn.
Emily Beal / Agweek

"I think that having opportunities like this for young people, young kids, to be exposed to this so early on in their lives is really important so it sparks that interest in them too,” Hewitt said. "We live in the city, and I recognize that he really loves being outdoors, but we don't always get the opportunity to be in the more rural setting.”

As children get further and further from the generation that grew up on the family farm, many lose the basic knowledge of agriculture. Kotrba hopes that by offering these camps, children can learn where their food, fuel and fiber comes from.

“We live so close to this big Fargo-Moorhead area, where kids just don't get out on a farm and don't know where their food comes from. We just think it's important to expose kids to that,” Kotrba said.

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