Cultivate Care Farms in Bolton offers outpatient farm-based therapy through a model that challenges traditional mental health programs, Andrew Lapin, founder and executive director, explained to our membership during our meeting on January 17. Andrew's research showed that traditional therapy techniques lacked effectiveness and he sought to develop an affordable, innovative approach for individuals and families. By empowering the Care Farm system, the program rescues both humans and animals from despair, abandonment, and pain, and creates communities of mutual growth and healing. Founded in 2015, Cultivate Care is based on a centuries-old approach to therapy that began in Europe which matches people with animals to build a connection.  The facility uses the farm and animals to support behavioral counseling, serving between 20 and 40 outpatient clients each week. Therapists work alongside the clients as they perform chores and interact with the animals while their stories naturally unfold.
Andrew explains that "there’s a lot of power that comes from riding a horse and learning how to control a 1,200 pound animal when you’re just a 60 pound kid, or through the process of working with the sheep and seeing how skittish they might be, but over time they learn to trust.”  There are more than 50 animals on the farm, including horses, pigs, sheep, cows, chickens and bees. Each animal serves a different purpose in the therapy process for the Farm's clients.
In 2017, Cultivate Care Farms became a non-profit organization, furthering Andrew and his staff's vision of expanding Care Farming in America.  The program now accepts insurance and strives to be inclusive to all who may benefit from its services. It is one of the only facilities in the area that can accept and support LGBT individuals in crisis.  To learn more about Cultivate Care Farms, visit their website, and watch Andrews entire presentation on our Facebook page.