GILBERT, Ariz. — A small ranch sits on the frontline of the war between the Town of Gilbert’s expansion and its desire to honor its agricultural past.
Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary has spent the past decade on a small lot, watching new homes building closer and closer.
On Tuesday morning, Aimee Takaha received word that her sanctuary will become another casualty to the war on progress.
“It’s vital to this community,” Takaha said while bottle-feeding a baby goat. “This is the last bit of the farms left. The community needs that. Gilbert – the authentic Gilbert.”
Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary is home to farm animals that were unwanted, animals that had deformities or disorders, that were abandoned.
“Most of these animals are special needs. People didn’t want them because they have different ailments. They’re missing limbs, they’re in wheelchairs, they’re born different,” Takaha said. “We get children here that are born different as well. These very animals help these children. It really helps them to have something to relate to that’s just like them.”
The stepmother of one of those children who benefitted from the love of Takaha’s animals loved the sanctuary so much, she became a frequent volunteer.
“Her father and I and her family have noticed such a significant impact that the farm has made on her,” Danielle Hernandez said. “Her confidence level has blossomed.”
But without help, children like Hernandez’s will no longer benefit from these animals.
“The developer is going to dig everything up and put condos in,” Takaha said. “Originally, I was told two years I had. This morning, I was notified that I have six months to come up with $500,000. I think with $100,000 down I can put that down on the property and save it.”
The volunteers have rallied behind one mission: Save the farm.
“As a parent, it’s imperative that we save the farm and have an avenue for those kids to come out and have healing and therapy and be exposed to animals that they otherwise wouldn’t have exposure to,” Hernandez said.
As Takaha would say, too many people have put in too much work to just walk away.
“The community has just worked so hard to put structures in this place. Girl Scout projects, Eagle Scout projects, group homes of differently abled have come and made gardens. It’s really not my place; it’s the community’s place.”
Takaha’s nonprofit is accepting donations to raise the money needed to put a down payment on the land they currently occupy.