Tired of being stuck indoors? Bay Area farm opens up for virtual farm animal visits

ByJuan Carlos Guerrero KGO logo
Friday, May 8, 2020
Stuck indoors? Sign up for a farm animal virtual visit
Want a goat to crash your next corporate video meeting? A Bay Area group is allowing its farm animals to join business meetings by video to give workers a moment of zen.

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- In a different world, Argyle and Magnolia would never have crossed paths, yet there they are, caressing each other on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Argyle, a steer, and Magnolia, a drawf cow, are both living at Sweet Farm, a farm animal sanctuary in Half Moon Bay.

"We have animals that have come out of all sorts of situations. They came from factory farms, abuse cases, abandonment, even cockfighting rings," said Nate Salpeter, who co-founded Sweet Farm with Anna Sweet. "Sometimes it takes a year or two years for them to trust humans again and for their personality to come back out."

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The farm has all the animals you would find in a storybook farm. There are cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, ducks and a horse. There is even a llama named Paco. Most of the animals have names. They also have fans from all over the world.

Sweet Farm usually hosts school groups on field trips, but when the stay-at-home order took effect, the farm was left without visitors. So they found a way to stay connected. Salpeter and Sweet created Goat-2-Meeting, a service that lets the public sign up for a virtual visit from an animal.

"We have corporate groups calling in to their company coffee breaks. People have us calling in to their birthday parties," said Salpeter as he approached a group of goats to begin one of the sessions.

Sweet Farms charges companies for a ten to 25 minute the moment of zen and uses the money to pay for school groups to keep visiting the farm for free.

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Salpeter hopes the service will see animals in a different light.

"A lot of people have not had the chance to look up close at the eyes of a cow or a pig. They see that interaction between our Argyle the steer and Magnolia the dwarf cow. The two of them grooming one another. People say my dog does the same thing. And that's when people start to draw that connection between what is on their plate and other animals," adds Salpeter.

The animals are pressured to participate in the video chats. If they want to wander away, they can. But some, like Butterscotch, a goat who was saved from slaughter, likes to get close enough to rub against a visitors leg or for a good scratch between the ear.

"The animals are out here, living their best life."

Butterscotch would agree.

For more information about the Goat-2-Meeting program, visit the Sweet Farm website.