With a veterinarian as a father and a nurse as a mother, it’s no surprise that Sean Short completed a degree in molecular biology. “I definitely inherited the medical, science, geeky type brain,” jokes Short, director of Blooming Health Farms, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit hydroponic and chicken farm in Greeley. Blooming Health Farms is a working farm that mentors and employs at-risk youth between the ages of 15 and 24.
Over a decade ago, Short dealt with alcoholism and multiple DUIs. He found sobriety and began making self-care a priority. “I’m thankful I went through the trials and tribulations,” Short says. “It has taught me the importance of self-care while caring for others.” Short believes the time he spent in Weld County Jail planted seeds that later helped him form the vision for Blooming Health Farms.
In April 2019, Short had a serendipitous encounter with Ryan Smith, a nationally certified counselor. Within two weeks, Blooming Health Farms was conceived. The shared vision by its co-founders Short and Smith, allowed them to combine mental health support and agricultural practices to impact the lives of at-risk youth. “We wanted to help youth that were on the path to destruction and show them how to think beyond their own comprehension to change their path,” Short says. “When you see others that have gone down a similar path and are now succeeding, that’s so impactful.”
Blooming Health Farms assists at-risk youth to find purpose, gain skills and improve their well-being while learning agricultural entrepreneurship and contributing to their communities. The programs focus on raising and caring for chickens, using Short’s unique and superior feed, and selling high-quality eggs with outstanding flavor.
With a mind for learning and a desire to help others, Short and Smith look forward to helping even more people in the future. “The people make it feel like home,” Short says about Greeley. Blooming Health Farms focuses on growing food and growing people and appreciates the support and encouragement it has received from the Greeley community.