Lynn Kotrba is the executive director of Harvest Hope Farm, located just 10 minutes from North Fargo and Moorhead. Lynn attended the University of North Dakota graduating with a BS in Psychology in 1997 and an MA in Counseling in 1999.
Harvest Hope Farms serves those affected by Huntington’s Disease by spreading awareness, hope and helping to advance Huntington’s Disease research. They serve youth ages 3-13 through various camps including Llama Llama Camp for preschoolers and Harvesting Hope for Others Farm Camp for 6-13 year olds. They also have events for adults and are currently working on expanding camps to adults and families. Additionally, they work with several organizations in the FM area to provide team building experiences through volunteerism.
“After moving to our farm in 2015 we knew we needed to use what we had been blessed with to help others, but we didn’t know exactly how at the time. We prayed and brainstormed for 2 years and then came up with the idea of teaching youth about gardening and working with animals.”
“While we were forming this idea we came across a post about sheep being used for Huntington’s Disease Research and reached out to the researchers. Nine months later we had 10 pregnant ewes in our barn and we were learning along with our camp kids about how to raise sheep!”
Despite some difficult times in their personal lives, Lynn talks about how the good times far outweigh the tough times. Some of the positive points include: “The amazing support from the F/M Community. We live in a very generous community that gets behind and supports what they love. Working with amazing youth and families to serve our community. We have had 0 issues with the kids that come to our programming and the families are amazing to work with. They are supportive, creative, encouraging and step up to help out whenever needed. Another high point – the amazing families and friends of those with Huntington’s Disease that we have come to know over the past 4 years.”
“My why is everyone at-risk for Huntington’s Disease and every person that has an HD angel in heaven. My mom and sister both died of HD when they were 49 years old. Myself and 4 of my siblings remain at-risk for HD as well as several nieces and nephews. By raising our “special” sheep and working with Glycoscience Research and Shepherd’s Gift for GM1 we are fighting for awareness and a cure for this devastating disease. I never dreamed of or wanted sheep….but you will do crazy things when you have a why. Having our animals led us to also teaching youth and adults about sustainable food resources and environmental stewardship. We decided we might as well use what we have been given to share and teach others. From this came our camps and other events that all support education and the fight for a cure and raising awareness for Huntington’s Disease.”
Harvest Hope Farm’s mission is “To enhance the physical, emotional, social and financial well-being of others through a hands-on farm experience and education regarding sustainable food resources and environmental stewardship.” They do this by: 1) Raising sheep that are bred for GM1 research for Huntington’s Disease. In cooperation with Glycoscience Research in Brookings, SD they breed these sheep, when they are needed, for participation in research for Huntington’s Disease. 2) Educating youth and adults about sustainability and environmental stewardship through camps and events. Through the camps, they encourage the youth to give back to the community by raising produce for families in need in the FM area.
If you are interested in helping with Harvest Hope Farm’s work, there are countless ways for you or your team to become involved and volunteer. They have many goals and plans for expansion in the coming years, and any help is appreciated.
You can learn more about what Harvest Hope Farms does and how to get involved on their website and on Facebook @harvesthopefarm and Instagram @harvesthopefarm. You can also email Lynn at email@example.com