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Windberry Farm

An Arkansas couple is managing their dream farm despite tragedy
Photo courtesy of Windberry Farm

In 2009, Dan Dean and his wife, Laura Kelly, bought land for their dream farm in Winslow, Arkansas. Both are trained architects and built a cabin, canning shed, and greenhouse. In February of 2015, their dreams came to a screeching halt when Dan slipped and fell off the roof of the cabin. He was paralyzed from the waist down.

A friend suggested they go to Craig Hospital in Colorado for rehab. Dan and Laura couldn’t imagine being so far away from the farm and were afraid they would have to give it up, but this was the best place for him to go. Dan says the decision was much easier, thanks to friends and neighbors.

"We live in a small community, there are about 400 people in Winslow and it’s a pretty tight-knit community," he says. "We had lots of support from loving neighbors who would come take care of the farm on a daily basis, uncover plants that needed to be uncovered for the day and then cover them up at night, feed the cat, take care of the chickens, and all that good stuff."

Dan was in the hospital for two-months. When he returned home, he says the biggest challenge was being able to get around on the farm’s hilly and rocky terrain.

"I got a third-wheel attachment for my wheelchair that makes it much more stable for me to be able to go down the hill to where the new raspberry garden is, and the vineyard and the hoop houses," says Dan. "We just finished building a new hoop house, and it’s situated on the slope such that there’s a retaining wall on the low end that I can wheel up outside the retaining wall, and just reach over to where we planted strawberries. So that’s a way that I can harvest."

Life is back to normal with the adaptations, and Dan and Laura’s dream is still very much alive.

Get to know Dan and Laura on their Facebook page

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