Many harvests ago a shared vision existed between a husband and wife that an actual working farm designed specifically for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, would tender a very therapeutic and enriching venue to foster growth and independence. In the spring of 1985 that vision came to life, a byproduct of community collaboration and dedication to providing a unique alternative to service delivery resulting in the birth of Heritage Farm. For five years Jean and Richard Nikiel cultivated their vision on a small rented parcel of land from the Livermore family. The space, which included an old majestic farmhouse and several rustic out buildings, was an ideal location to support such an endeavor. In 1990, Heritage Farm moved to the Howard Homestead on Route 46 in Bouckville, NY where it established its roots.
Nestled in a valley on 150+ acres of beautifully lush countryside, Heritage Farm provides an array of farming and rural life opportunities to individuals throughout Madison County and its surrounding areas. Picturesque gardens, a working greenhouse, and a menagerie of small farm animals, serve as vehicles for habilitation, education and opportunities to cultivate greater independence and a sense of responsibility toward family, friends and community.
Individuals who attend Heritage Farm utilize a variety of different artistic mediums from paint, wood, wool and clay as opportunities for self-expression, tactile development, and education. Participants gain experience in farm-related tasks such as caring for small livestock or exploring horticultural endeavors in the vegetable patch, greenhouse and herb gardens. Participants grow their own bounty, gather eggs from the chickens and make jams or jellies from farm grown raspberries and grapes. Individuals can choose to experience the woodshops or craft rooms to forge wonderful folk arts and other primitives to share with their families and friends. Many opportunities exist for community integration and skill development in areas such as daily living, communication, and interpersonal skills.
Offered services include Group Day and Community Habilitation, Respite, Recreational and After-School services, Supported Employment, Service Coordination, Children’s Summer Program, and Self-Advocacy.