The Homestead Farm was purchased in 2012 and is part of the original homestead of Thomas Steele. The Steele family, including Thomas Steele and his cousins John Stevens Steele and Blanchlet (Steele) Miller were the first settlers on the headwaters of Glady Creek in 1825. The land that made up their pioneer farms was purchased in 1946 by the Burns Family and is still being farmed today. John Stevens Steele and his wife Isabella and many of their children, as well as Blanchlet and Jacob Miller and their children, are buried in the Steele Family cemetery on nearby Burns Farm.
Dan and Ann Burns have worked part time on the family farm in Taylor County since 1999. In 2000, their son Isaiah was born, and he was diagnosed with autism in 2002. Isaiah participates in many of the farm chores including working in the garden, feeding livestock, moving cows to new pasture, building fence, and splitting wood. He loves riding horses, petting his barn cats, and playing on his swing. The idea was born of creating a farm center which would give other individuals with disabilities access to this healthy, peaceful, and nurturing lifestyle: the Homestead Farm Center.
Our nonprofit organization was formed in August of 2014. A dedicated group of volunteers are now working to make the Homestead Farm Center a reality. We cleared land this summer for the construction of the first elements of the farm center - the community building, picnic shelter, and greenhouse - which will form the core of our programming. Our first garden was built and planted in the summer of 2016 thanks to our volunteers from the local community and was used with our first program: "Farming, Gardening, and the Great Outdoors" , which was held in cooperation with the Disability Action Center of Marion County. This pilot program was a great success and followed the next summer by RURAL. We are already planning our second year of the RURAL Program for the spring of 2018. A 10 year plan has been developed to make the farm center, including the residential units, fully functional by 2025.