more than a farm

Kelly's Working Well Farm

An educational permaculture farm dedicated to the community.

Take one piece of abandoned property at the edge of town, add a handful of sheep and goats, plus chickens and a couple of dogs, invite the community, and voila!  This is the story of Kelly’s Working Well Farm.

As a teacher, Kelly spent her career seeking ways to cultivate authentic and lasting learning in her students, focusing not on external validation or evaluation, but rather on meaningful engagement with the material at hand. Kelly’s Working Well Farm was created to provide an environment in which individuals could learn, grow, and explore through freely chosen, authentic and meaningful activities. In such an environment, the boundary between work and play dissolves and community bonds are formed via mutual interest and endeavors. The farm becomes a mini-society in which self-actualized members enjoy personal agency and develop a sense of responsibility for each other and place.

In 2012, Kelly and her  husband Bill began to turn some deserted land down the street from their home into an educational farm with a veggie garden, orchard, farm animals, community gatherings & summer camps attracting hundreds of children. Earth skills and other environmental workshops & events drew folks from all over northeast Ohio. Even then, visitors to the farm were quick to call it a magical place!

Kelly soon retired from twenty plus years of teaching to start the self-directed education program that is now Chagrin Valley Learning Collective. Inspired by Peter Gray’s book “Free to Learn”, the Learning Collective promotes the development of children’s autonomy & connection through personal freedom and community self-government. It is unique in that it also provides farm & nature immersion as foundational experiences for its participants.

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The farm is an environment that we feel very comfortable and excited about having our children engaged in. It is one that fosters exploration, creativity, thinking outside of the box and a genuine sense of connection to nature which is sorely lacking in too much of our daily lives.

~ Annie D