Farm in the Dell of the Red River Valley was formed in 2012 by a group of parents who each had a teen at Moorhead High School with a developmental disability. Their kids were about to graduate and were entering a period in their life with many unknowns. What are their next steps in life? Where will they live? Who will they live with? What will their employment look like? How will they provide for themselves? What will their social life look like?
After months of research, they stumbled upon Farm in the Dell International – the original Farm in the Dell organization that had been operating in Montana since 1986. Inspired by the concept, they headed west to learn about the farm. In doing so, they learned that the organization was formed – and is still operated – by a Lowell Bartells, a man who fiercely protects and advocates for individuals with disabilities – individuals who are often forgotten or mistreated in our current society.
Bartells based Farm in the Dell International off of a similar model in the Netherlands, where disabled individuals are able to live, work, and play on spacious farms – firmly connected to the land and its spirit. On these farms, individuals live fulfilling, purposeful lives in safe, self-sufficient environments – despite their disabilities.
The Moorhead parents returned home, immensely inspired by the mission and outcome of the organization’s work. They put their heads together, started gathering resources, and within a few months, Farm in the Dell of the Red River Valley was born – a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission of "transforming disabilities into abilities."
Farm in the Dell of the Red River Valley was originally located on a small plot near Catalyst Medical Center in South Fargo. The group of passionate parents, along with their families, local supporters, and a handful of employees, cultivated a special place to learn and grow.
In 2017 – after gaining momentum within the organization and excitement within the community – Farm in the Dell of the Red River Valley moved to its current location, just five miles north of Moorhead on a 30-acre plot. Since then, the farm employs 20+ disabled individuals each growing season, and runs a CSA (community supported agriculture) program, providing weekly produce boxes in the summer months for local families wanting to support the mission.
Today, Farm in the Dell continues to be a purposeful and impactful place to work and enjoy God's creation.