What: Old McDonald’s Farm, Inc. (OMF) is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing an educational experience in a therapeutic farm setting for children in the Portland/Gresham/Vancouver metropolitan area.
Our Mission: In facilitating healthy social and emotional development, OMF is committed to providing at-risk protective factors to children through structured, educational experiences using animals, agriculture, gardens and natural resources.
Our Primary Goal: To teach children responsibility and respect for themselves, other people, animals and the environment. We obtain our teaching goal with children through educational experiences presented in a positive, hands-on farm setting. Lessons in world geography, mathematics, healthcare and nurturing, safety and self-restraint, writing mechanics, better communication skills, life-cycles and interconnectedness of all living things, history, recycling/composting and better land management are also taught.
Our Programs: We serve primarily children K-12 in greater Portland. We target “at risk” youth but extend our services to benefit all school-age children.
The Day Visit Program offers worthwhile, educational activities for children. They learn safety and self-control; how to be kind and respectful of one another and animals; feeding, housing and health care needs of the animals; the commercial uses of animals; identification of wild plants and animal species; world geography; identification and appropriate use of tools; to compost and recycle; and the purposes and proper care of a garden. We offer three different program packages ranging from one hour to 3 hours.
Special Programs allow children the chance to plan, develop and execute individual or group projects with the support of OMF staff. As an example, at the request of Multnomah Educational Service District, high school students of the Functional Living Skills class from Reynolds, Gresham-Barlow, Parkrose, Centennial and Corbett School Districts come twice per week to participate in structured, educational activities while they learn good, life skills. In addition, we have taught a student weekly with a mentor through Services to Families and Children. The possibilities for Special Programs abound.
Our Summer Programs allows OMF staff the opportunity to work with children during a concentrated time. The highlight of this program is to learn to appropriately approach, lead, handle, discipline if need be, mount and dismount and ride a horse. We teach animal care and health needs and how to appropriately bond and nurture an animal. Research shows that working with livestock, especially horses, has a positive and lasting impact on children. The ability to focus, be less anxious, display faster reflexes, to communicate more effectively and the ability to improve cognitive processes are examples of this positive impact. Skills in composting, planting, weeding, cultivating, fertilizing, watering and harvesting a garden are also learned. Children are introduced to life cycles, interconnectedness with all nature and scientific methods of prediction, hypothesis, and measurement and to draw conclusions. Our Jr. Vet. Program is for slightly older students that are interested in becoming Vet. Techs or Veterinarians. We usually have one week of the Jr. Vet. Program and then six weeks of the Summer Program each summer.
During “Farm-On-The-Go” we introduce students to volunteering and the importance of altruism in their lives while bolstering their self-concept. We have taught in-school classes, after-school classes and mini workshops with this program. The possibilities abound.
“Farmer-For-A-Day” Camp out under the stars on our farm. It is very private and quiet here. (You will not hear your neighbor’s “boom box” at 2:00 in the morning, guaranteed.) Bring your tents and set it up or just your sleeping bags and pads to enjoy the outdoors while you learn from our academic pursuits with the animals. We also have indoor accommodations with our Horse Barn Apartment, Farm Cottage, Hay Loft and possibly a new Glamping Space too.
Saturday One-Day Workshops offer students a chance to learn more in depth about one topic. As an example, we have taught a “Chicken Chat” Workshop that included information on Heritage breeds of chickens, genetic diversity, life cycles of chickens, care and maintenance of the animals and the history of our breeds with a lesson in the geography of where our breeds originated. We usually teach two Saturday Workshops each year; one in the spring and autumn and then change the topics each year.
Children Served: We have taught more than 25,000 children and youth since we opened late 1996.
Yes, we are a 501(C)3: A nonprofit, charitable organization. Your cash or in-kind donation to OMF is tax-deductible. We just need an invoice with contact and company name, address, phone number, date, what item is, what it is for and retail amount to receive a tax deduction. A receipt/thank you letter for either cash or in-kind contributions will be mailed to you.
Key Dates: We began research and development in October 1992, incorporated in December 1993, Board meetings began in January 1994, received IRS favorable determination July 1994, started serving children in the summer of 1995 to help in curriculum development and officially opened our doors to serve children in 1997.
Board Members: Now 7 and we are always looking for a few more folks.
Volunteers: Thousands of people have worked more than 24,000 hours to develop OMF.
Money: More than $800,000 has been raised to build this program and more is needed.
Animals: We have 30+ farm animals that include horses, cow, sheep, goats, pig, ducks, chickens, geese, rabbits, cats and dogs.