Foundation Farm is a volunteer-based nonprofit fervently focused on improving the mental and emotional health of kids and adults in our surrounding communities. We offer a neutral environment, a “safe place”, where participants know they can come in their time of need and receive the love and encouragement they so desperately need, along with real connections and ongoing mentor-ship as they learn how to cope better with the struggles they are facing.
Meet our Team:
Mark Edwards ~ Volunteer President, Mentor & Kris Edwards ~ Volunteer Executive Director, Mentor, Private Sessions Facilitator
Co-founders, Mark & Kris, were married in 2007 and started Foundation Farm in 2013.
Mark grew up on a farm near Cambria, MN, and has spent his whole career as a diesel mechanic. He does all the heavy lifting around Foundation Farm and blesses the ministry greatly with his “jack of all trades” skill set! Mark is a mentor at the farm, and is the quiet backbone of the ministry, offering wisdom and insight that helps us continue to move forward.
Kris grew up on a farm near Sleepy Eye, MN. She got her first horse when she was 8 years old, and has been hooked ever since! At a young age she started to train and show horses, give riding lessons to others, and even breed Arabians. After high school, she spent a year as an assistant trainer at an Arabian show barn and then headed off to nursing school to get her degree in registered nursing. Today she works in Oncology in New Ulm, MN.
In 2013, the Lord placed a call on Kris’s heart to use the horses and all her years of experience with them to help others find hope and healing in only the way God can. “I heard loud and clear in my spirit that I was to cease using horses for my own enjoyment and start using them to help others. The Lord made the horse in such a unique way that they bring about peace, calmness, healing, and joy just being around them. They also provide much needed laughter in their daily shenanigans! In addition, time spent with a horse can help you become aware of your own helpful or harmful emotions because the horses themselves are sensitive to them. This provides valuable insight and reflection about oneself. I’ve seen the Lord use time spent with a horse to quietly speak to a heart seeking Him; building hope, healing from past regrets, and renewing desires to serve Him. We are blessed to offer the horses here for the Lord to use in whatever way He chooses and are in awe of the way He is building this ministry!”
Cheyenne Runck ~ Volunteer Children’s Program Director, Secretary, Mentor
Cheyenne has been with Foundation Farm almost from the very beginning. Not only is she the wife and mother of 2 beautiful children (with one on the way!), Cheyenne holds the degree of Parent and Child Educator, bringing an immense amount of knowledge of how children learn best at various stages and how to be intentional in our time with them. Cheyenne designs session framework for the volunteers to be inspired by.
“It has been wonderful to see the impact this ministry has on those who are involved – mentors, children, parents, individuals, and groups who come to the farm. God has brought together an amazing group of people who believe in the mission at Foundation Farm and it is a privilege to be a part of this ministry. God has been guiding us each year and molding us into his faithful servants. I pray that He continues to watch over all who are a part of Foundation Farm, even our four-legged friends.”
Renee Okerman ~ Volunteer Treasurer, Events/Fundraising Volunteer
Farm girl from Sleepy Eye, MN. Married to her high school sweetheart, Ray, for over 19 years. Mom to 2 beautiful daughters, Cadence & Chloe. Lover of dogs, basketball, coffee, pumpkins, and Jesus. Can be found most often in a gym watching her girls play basketball, in the garden tending to her pumpkin patch, or volunteering at school. Renee is an incredibly valuable asset to the ministry, she brings a down-to-earth and fresh viewpoint to our board meetings that help direct the program be the best it can be.
“Foundation Farm is near and dear to my heart because it connects kids to Jesus through God’s creation (horses), and it benefits the volunteers just as much as it does the kids.”
Janette Krzmarzick – Volunteer Fundraising Coordinator, Mentor
Meet the amazing lady who makes sure things keep running at the farm! Janette took on the tough job of Fundraising Coordinator in 2020 and has been a mentor at the farm since 2019…
“I grew up on a farm west of Sleepy Eye, with 2 brothers and 4 sisters. We enjoyed our simple farm life with few frills and lots of hard work. We always had horses and I worked with them on a daily basis until I was 21.
I married my high school sweetheart, Ron. We have been married for 52 years and live in New Ulm. We have 5 children, 10 grandchildren, and 1 great granddaughter.
I have had several occupations over the years from cleaning houses, home health care of the elderly, church secretary, administrative assistant at an insurance office and licensed to sell insurance at the age of 60. After my retirement and having the opportunity to winter in south Florida at my daughter Deanna’s, I had prayed and wondered where God could use me. Surely in these retirement years there was something I could do. I met Kris Edwards and inquired about helping with mentoring kids with the horses. I was amazed at how not only did I see an amazing joy in the kids after sessions but also in myself. When I grew up I never ever thought the time with the horses was indeed therapy for me.”
Kathy Wenninger ~ Volunteer Youth Director
Kathy is the newest addition to the staff at Foundation Farm and we are so blessed and excited that she has joined us…her biography is coming soon!