Unable to find a new farm site, the founders of Joshua House Ministries are auctioning off their hand-raised animals.
Richard and Angie Korkowski founded the farm-based recovery program on Fraser Highway in 2008. The couple helped men overcome addictions through caring for farm animals, until the landowner decided not to renew their lease.
“When the guys come in from the streets, they’re very hard and callous, and they’re not very open. And when you’re looking at a baby kid goat or a baby calf that you have to feed every morning with a bottle…It softens them,” said Richard.
The percentage of men staying clean after leaving one of the Joshua House homes in Abbotsford has dropped by nearly 10 points with the loss of access to the farm, said Richard.
The Korkowskis have been searching for a new site, without success. They received a few leads for new land but none were what they needed.
The couple has a target move-out date of March 15. They don’t need to be out until 2015, but maintaining the farm costs $2,600 per month.
“It’s not about profit, but it ends up being a drain on the ministry. Nobody has stepped forward to say, ‘You know what, we’ll help pay for it or we’ll help you find another farm,'” said Richard. “As each animal runs out of feed, we’re selling it off.”
The goats are running out of feed on Friday, so they are going to Fraser Valley Auctions on Saturday at 1 p.m. The chickens are going on March 1.
Six years ago, the couple started the farm with just eight calf and 12 chickens. It grew quickly in that time to include goats and pigs. Most of the animals now left were raised either from youth, or were born on the farm. The Korkowskis are now selling their remaining 23 goats (11 Boer kids, 11 does, and 1 billy) and 99 Rhode Island Red laying hens.
The couple auctioned off their cows and pigs last week, with huge losses. The three cows went for a total of $1,750, an amount that the Korkowskis usually received for each cow. It was the same story with the three pigs, which were sold for a total of $450.
With the farm shutting down, the Korkowskis are taking over the recovery house managed by Matthew Five Recovery Housing Society in Abbotsford.
They still have strong hopes of obtaining another farm.
“We want one so badly. We are so devastated that this is going on now,” said Richard. “We’re praying that somebody steps up and says, ‘Here’s a farm. Take it.'”