Caromont Farm in Esmont, Virginia, well known for its cheese, has recently gained even more acclaim for its baby goats. In 2016 Caromont owner and cheesemaker Gail Hobbs-Page issued a social media request for volunteer “goat snugglers” willing “to assist in bottle feeding infant goats, keeping the herd warm and dry, and maintaining cleanliness of the equipment and pens.”
Within days, the farm had reached its capacity for baby goat snugglers for the season. Over two thousand people from all over the world responded to the message to help them with the care and feeding of 120 + newly born goat kids.
People from every walk of life signed up for a shift on the farm, including veterans with PTSD, victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault, autistic children, the terminally ill, and urban dwellers just wanting a day in the country with their kids.
Gail Hobbs-Page wrote that “It was joyful, energizing, and frequently heartbreaking to share in people’s stories. As the weeks went by, what became evident was that our working farm was doing something much bigger. We were providing necessary healing experiences for people who were hurting in many different ways.”
Gail was so moved by this experience that she wanted to do more. She reached out to her long-time friend Tara Hodges, the founder of A Fertile Foundation, a local non-profit with a focus on farm-centered therapy. Due to lack of their own space, “Fertile” has in the past been more of a roving farm therapy program.
This year “Fertile” will build on Caromont’s success by partnering with them to expand their therapeutic “snuggling”, creating a permanent space to provide farm-centered therapy to community members.
The partnership provides a home for “Fertile” as well as allowing for animal and farming education programs provided by Caromont. What started last year with a simple call to volunteer with baby goats will grow this year to allow the continuation of A Fertile Foundation’s work. Caromont provides the terra firma, the baby goats provide unending and unconditional love.
To learn more about A Fertile Foundation, please click here. All donations are fully tax-deductible and directly support their programs.