Looking for a fun Saturday activity with the kids? Check out this wonderful farm in Wall!
By Joan Slowey Dellett
Joann and Sean Burney are passionate people. You can tell immediately when they start to talk about the loving environment they have created at Allaire Community Farm. Not only is it a working farm, petting zoo, animal rescue, boarding stable and market, but always at the top of their mind was “how can we give back?”.
When their son was diagnosed on the spectrum of autism several years ago, Joann and Sean actively sought alternatives to the standard treatments that were being offered to treat autism at that time. Their search taught them the value of organic foods and animal therapy as treatment options. Their success in their own life with these alternative methods made them want to share what they learned. When an opportunity to put what they had learned into practice presented itself with the availability of a 22.5 acre farm property in Wall Township in 2013, they seized it.
While operating as the farm, they got a call to rescue a horse. As their stable grew, they started offering birthday pony parties and class trips. It was during these events that they noticed the benefits special needs children were deriving from their contact with the horses. This led them to seeking non-profit status for their farm and developing therapy programs to help these children. Eventually, the Burneys were also asked to help with outreach for at risks teens, leading them to develop programs that allow these teens to volunteer to work caring for the animals and working the farm, developing their learning and coping skills and sense of responsibility.
But primarily this is a working farm. There are animals to feed, stalls to be mucked, fences to be mended. And all of this costs money. The birthday parties, class trips, scout outings and education programs they host at the farm help. They also hold fundraisers during the year – their annual Hoedown ball in the Spring held on the grounds under tents and, in the Fall, a Food Truck Festival, also held on site.
Corporate sponsorships and donations are also key to the future plans for the farm. And monetary donations are not the only kind of donations the Burneys would like to receive. Farms are constantly in need of repair and so professional services, such as electricians, builders, plumbers, even office help, are also welcomed.
Looking to the future, the Burneys are hoping to create a year round facility. An indoor petting zoo for smaller animals and an indoor riding ring would add to their capability to offer programs during the colder months, helping get them closer to their ultimate goal – becoming self-sufficient.
Joann and Sean’s passion for what they do now and what they hope to achieve in the near future demonstrates their commitment to making an impact on and supporting their local community.
To visit Allaire Community Farm or to get more information on their programs, visit http://allairecommunityfarm.org/ or call 732-996-2754