THE FAMILY BEHIND THE FARM
Blessed with the farm of their dreams in June 2015, Jason and Lynn Kotrba knew they needed to use their property to bless others. After 20 years of marriage, two careers working with children, and seven children of their own, HARVEST HOPE FARM became a vision in the spring of 2017 and a reality in November 2017. HARVEST HOPE FARM is an answer to prayer and a vessel by which the Kotrba Family are helping to carrying out God's message of hope to others.
Jason and Lynn firmly believe children thrive when they have a good balance of activities in their lives, including involvement in nature and spending time outdoors. Through their professional work with children and their personal experience with their own children, both Jason and Lynn have seen the positive effects that nature has on self-esteem, motor skills, confidence, life-skills development, mental health, physical health, social skills development and much more! Jason and Lynn also understand the need for children to have adults in their lives who are positive role models and who believe that it truly does take a village to raise a child.
Through these personal beliefs, many discussions with their children, as well as prayer and discernment of God’s will for them, the Kotrba Family envision HARVEST HOPE FARM to be a place where children and adults can experience the outdoors while learning about the positive impacts of sustainable food resources and environmental stewardship; a place where they can have a hands-on farm experience with gardening and farm animals and learn how to give to others in the community who may be less fortunate.
Born and raised in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and the oldest of 4 children, Jason grew up helping his father, Joe, farm and has always carried fond memories of his grandparents' farm. Building on those memories, Jason desires HARVEST HOPE FARM to be a place where many can find HOPE through the HARVEST.
Lynn grew up in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, and is the youngest of 6 children. Her mother, Margaret, was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease (HD) when Lynn was 10 years old and eventually died on February 22, 1989 from complications of the disease when Lynn was 13 years old. Lynn’s older sister, Lisa, also died of HD in 2011. Having a lifelong desire to help find a cure for HD so that her generation would be the last to experience the disease, Lynn became connected with Shephard’s Gift for GM1 during the summer of 2017 while plans for HARVEST HOPE FARM were being shaped.
HARVEST HOPE FARM is now the home to some very “special” sheep that may hold the answer to finding a cure for HD. These “special” sheep are being bred at HARVEST HOPE FARM to participate in research for finding a cure for HD at GlycoScience Research in South Dakota. Those who visit and participate in activities at HARVEST HOPE FARM are able to interact with these beautiful animals and learn about the Hope that these sheep are giving to families with HD.
Jason and Lynn's eight children all play a significant role at HARVEST HOPE FARM. Tending to daily garden and animal chores, the Kotrba kids know that through their work they have the potential to impact many generations, including their own. The Kotrba kids enjoy sharing the animals, gardens and woods with all who come to visit. Autumn currently attends the University of Mary, Hannah, Shawn, Joseph, Olivia, Ella and Ava are all students in Fargo's JPII Catholic Schools Network. The Kotrba's 8th child, Michael, joined the family in August 2020 and enjoys exploring the farm and spending as much time as possible with the animals, especially his favorite Llama, Abu.