Athens and Erin pose with their dog, Moose on the farm.

Meet the new farm caretaker and family!

Meet the Loves! Four days after returning from their honeymoon this past June, newlyweds Athens (they/them) and Erin (she/her) packed up their house in the Vine neighborhood and moved to AACORN with their dog, Moose. Since moving, the three of them have settled into the quieter sounds of country life. Athens works as the Sr. Philanthropy Officer for a non-profit organization; The Cornucopia Institute. They have a passion for relationship building and meeting new people. Erin discovered her passion for farm life after living at Lake Village Homestead for three years. This is where she first learned of AACORN and is proud to be a part of this community. Moose has also been enjoying his time here making regular appearances on the walks with participants and giving kisses to anyone who lets him. In the future, Athens and Erin would like to combine their love for community and nature by starting their own non-profit farm to provide temporary housing and safe space for women and people of the LGBTQIA+ community. 


AACORN was given Conservation Farm of the Year award from the Kalamazoo Conservation District yesterday in recognition of our efforts to manage soil and water conservation. We are honored to receive this award and grateful for the support that the Kalamazoo Conservation District has provided in our ongoing efforts to take care of our little slice of heaven.

Say hello to our first set of baby goats! Crystal, one of our Nubian goats gave birth to four furry babies on Wednesday April 13th. Introducing April Showers, May Flowers, June, and Julio. We are anticipating more baby goats within the next couple of days from our other three Nubian goats, Penny, Wendy, and Peaches. Keep an eye out for an update!

Photo credit to AACORN’s resident photographer, Ashley Beach Photography.

Spotlight on staff:  Nayely Garcia

The Kalamazoo native had her eye on AACORN as she was deciding which organization to choose for her summer internship.

“I wanted to expand my experience,” Garcia said.

She has past experience working with people with developmental disabilities as a camp counselor for the City of Kalamazoo Department of Parks and Recreation.

Garcia’s interest also took her abroad in Costa Rica in January 2020. She spent three months studying programs based on community and global health.

“We learned about the health system in Costa Rica and the vulnerable populations over there,” she said.

During her stay in Costa Rica she volunteered weekly teaching English to adults with developmental disabilities. These experiences are what drew Garcia to AACORN, especially the unique opportunity it offers the participants.

“Working on a farm is just something neat,” she said.

Garcia, who will be a senior in the fall, is currently studying psychology and her education is expected to be helpful in creating behavioral plans, among other aspects.

“Because she understands the behavioral psychology aspect of this job,” said Program Manager Chapin Cole.

On top of that, Garcia is an artist and is helping making beautiful signs to go around the farm, including a sign for the new petting zoo.

While her six week internship comes to an end this week, Garcia said she is very happy to know that her time on the farm will not.

“I had gained a connection with all the participants here,” she said. “I just love this organization, I was kind of sad that I was going to leave.”

And when she’s not on the farm, Garcia loves hanging out with her family, crafting, and going on adventures.

She plans on more adventures after graduating from Kalamazoo college. Garcia is planning to attend graduate school in Michigan to further explore her interest in psychology. She is still deciding whether she will study behavioral, developmental, or educational psychology.

If you happen to be on the farm on Tuesdays and Thursdays make sure to say hi to Nayely and check out her beautiful art around the farm!