PHOTO: Craig Midgett and his daughter Clara walking “Donny” the goat.
BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
Spring Hill residents Anara and Craig Midgett have opened their homestead up to the community for a free fall photo op, with much bigger aspirations for helping the community planned for the future: Anara and Craig hope to eventually own their own farm, in which they would employ those with disabilities to work and live on the property.
“We would love to get up an actual farm and have a tiny home village for individuals with special needs, and then they would play a role in the farm as well,” Anara said. “It would be a farm for production, and [would] actually sell products that help support the farm.”
Anara, a registered nurse, met her husband Craig while they were both working at hospice. Both of them had seen multiple assisted living setups by that point, which was one of the original inspirations for the idea to start a farm employing those with disabilities.
The second inspiration for the farm, was their 13 year-old daughter, Clara.
Clara has Down syndrome, autism, and had suffered a stroke at a young age, forcing her to communicate mostly through writing. Even so, Anara says Clara, in many ways, is just like any other 13-year-old girl.
“One thing our daughter has taught us is you can’t look at someone’s physical function and make assumptions about their cognitive and emotional functions,” Anara said. “There’s a lot of individuals with special needs that are high functioning. They want to fall in love, they want to get married, they want to have their own place, and take pride in the same things that everybody else takes pride [in].”
Anara explained that each individual’s role at the farm would be catered to his or her unique set of skills and needs, and that the farm would be a way for those with disabilities to further their independence.
While the farm has been a goal of the Anara and Craig for years, the ultimate location is still undecided. Currently, Anara and Craig live on what they have dubbed the Spring Haven Suburban Homestead, a three-acre piece of land in southern Spring Hill that houses ducks, chickens and goats.
The name is a play on what are called urban homestead households, which are homes with a large focus on edible landscaping, solar and alternative energy, and otherwise self-sustaining means of living.
“We decided to kind of play on that and call ourselves a suburban homestead, because we’re still in the suburbs,” Anara said. “We’re just viewing this as a stepping stone for moving onto bigger things that will be a bigger part of the community – an active part of the community.”
Speaking conservatively, Anara said she would like to start the farm project within three years, with the cost of land in Spring Hill and being a full-time mother to two children being large factors in that projected time frame.
For now, Anara and Craig are caring for their current property, hoping to give their children a deeper understanding and respect for the land.
“We both had just internalized the message of community and service,” Anara said. “When we got our three acres in the burbs, one of the first things we started thinking about was, what more can we do? How can we share our blessings, even if they’re small blessings?”
Those interested in taking free fall photos at the Spring Haven Suburban Homestead in southern Spring Hill are asked to reach out via Facebook for the address, which can be done by clicking here.