Founder, Executive Director
Following her successful recovery from 23 years of debilitating, suicidal depression, Julie then spent her forties and the better part of ten years serving and learning at local therapy farm Peace Ranch. Volunteering at the ranch offered further personal healing and growth and helped her develop a therapeutic mindset as well as a skill set of working with horses, working on the land, and serving and leading others. There she experienced for herself the profound healing impact a natural farm environment of working with animals and working the land in the context of safe community offers the hurting and broken. She had the opportunity to participate in the growth of a nonprofit therapeutic farm and was its first college intern. About the same time, she served for five years on the board of a local nonprofit ministry serving single moms and worked as a life coach for a year and a half there as well.
After a season pursuing an education, during a day of prayer she received an unusual and powerful vision. That vision would become reality with the establishment of Freedom Farm Ministries Grand Traverse in 2016. Close family friend Jane Pace caught the vision for a faith-based farm ministry serving women, purchased a 2 ½ acre property outside the village of Kingsley, Michigan, and invited Julie and her husband Dave to come live there and launch Freedom Farm. Today the farm comprises two physical sites: the permaculture garden site where they live and the equine therapy site located a few minutes away on the property of a close friend. This dual-site arrangement has proved very workable until such time as a larger property can be purchased where all the therapeutic programs can be housed together.