Hi, I am Kristy. My husband Jeremiah and I and our three children own Wheels 2 Fields Flower Farm.
A few months ago, my husband Jeremiah (who requires a wheelchair), and I packed up our three kids for a long weekend getaway near the Great Lakes. We were booked at a cozy little cottage that was advertised as being wheelchair accessible and we had big plans to create meaningful memories with our family.
After a nine hour drive, we arrived and discovered that there were steps leading to the house. That, as you might imagine, posed no small challenge, given my husband’s wheelchair. Our eleven-year old son (who will surely develop big, strong muscles one day, but hasn’t quite done so just yet) and I struggled to carry Jeremiah in his chair up the steps. Not only was it extremely difficult to do, but it was relatively dangerous for all involved. Things didn’t improve much when finally we made it into the house only to discover that not one of the home’s bathrooms were accessible.
In that moment, all five of us felt pretty defeated. Not that we’re strangers to hardship.
In 2006, Jeremiah was trapped inside a building during a storm. Falling debris severed his spine and left him paralyzed. In the days, weeks and months that followed, we admittedly faced some very dark moments. From where we are now, it’s easy to see how we grew through that situation and emerged stronger together. But believe me when I tell you that the weight we carried as we trudged through those trenches felt unbearable at times. Today, both of us proudly bear the visible and invisible scars we came away with as badges of honor.
When our twins arrived seven years later, we’d face another defining experience. Born at just 24 weeks gestation, they spent five months in the NICU. One of them, Jude, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and has worked incredibly hard in his nine years of life to overcome the significant challenges he’s faced with day in and day out.
It would be easy to wallow in grief. But that’s not what we do. Focusing on the positive is a fundamental principle in our family. All five of us are survivors.
These experiences have given us valuable insight into things we otherwise might never understand: the challenge of disability and the importance of connection.
As lovers of nature, we’ve both sought and found respite in the great outdoors. Stretched beneath a canopy of stars, there is space to heal. With nothing but the chirp of a cricket to distract us, there is a chance to reflect. Beneath the branches of the tallest trees, we are reminded to maintain perspective.
Recently, we became aware of an opportunity to create a fully-inclusive getaway tucked into undeveloped forest and wetland property near the Great Lakes. We dream of building a universally-accessible cabin or cabins where families of all abilities can take respite in nature. Boardwalks will allow guests to tread lightly through wetlands and a dock will provide access to kayaking, fishing and stargazing on the shallow lake that lies adjacent to the property. It will be a place where people of all ages (infant to elderly!) and abilities can come to relax, heal and make lasting memories at their own pace.
As a registered landscape architect and owner of a landscape architecture firm, I am especially equipped to tackle this project. My company has extensive experience in preserving natural environments and executing outdoor projects, from design to implementation. Every project we put our name on is built with accessibility and eco-responsibility as top priorities. This project will be no different. In building this dream, we’ll be protecting bird habitats, rare vegetation, and a variety of animals that call this undeveloped shoreline home.
In addition to the landscape architecture firm, we also own and operate a small solar-run flower farm outside St. Louis, Missouri. It gives us the distinct pleasure of sharing the beauty (and bounty!) of nature with friends of the farm. Here again, sustainability is one of the highest priorities in our family, and in our businesses.
Now, we want to extend our impact not only by preserving a unique wetland landscape, but also by creating a nurturing cabin (or cabins) nearby, where ALL people of ALL ages and ALL abilities can connect with nature, and with each other.
In order to make the Wheels2Fields Wisconsin Retreat a reality, we need your help.
With the help of family and a close friend we are so close to our goal. We are prepared to invest most of our savings into the purchase of the land. To move forward, we need to raise $47,000. The funds will be used to help us secure a construction loan, purchase materials and employ tradesmen.
We are so grateful to be valued contributors within our community and look forward to becoming active members of a new place as we build this dream.
Every single dollar given is truly valued and sincerely appreciated. Thank you for your support and encouragement!
Kristy & Jeremiah & Kids.