Published July 28th, 2023 at 6:00 AM1 minute read
This year Zen Donkey Farms moved into a new building in Lone Jack, Missouri. The larger space allowed the raw, organic juice company to expand and do things like release a new line of canned sparkling water.
The expanded juice capacity also means Zen Donkey can grow its donkey rescue and donkey-facilitated therapy nonprofit Zen Donkey Experience.
According to The Donkey Sanctuary, between 2.8 million and 4.8 million donkey skins are harvested each year to make a skincare product called “ejiao.” Only a handful of countries have banned the trade, and the United States is a known exporter.
Kate Barker, the founder and president of Zen Donkey Farms and Zen Donkey Experience, fell in love with the quirky, sweet and intelligent personalities of donkeys after she first encountered them in southern France.
“We ended up canceling our plans the rest of the day and just spent the entire day hanging out with them, learning about them,” said Barker, who runs the business alongside her husband. “We just totally fell in love with their personalities.”
She soon started the rescue farm and transferred her knowledge of equine- assisted therapy to Zen Donkey Experience. Folks can come and do group activities like yoga with the donkeys, personalized experiences like reiki, or just come and enjoy some time in nature with Pickle, Olive or one of the other playful donkeys.
Soon, Barker plans to move the donkeys to the new property and facilitate private experiences with both juice and donkeys.
“It’ll really just be an immersive farm experience that’s really calming and healing and beautiful,” Barker said.
Barker is preparing for her September fundraising event, Dining with Donkeys, which will have live music, a dinner, an auction and, most importantly, time with the donkeys.
To learn more, watch the attached video.
Cami Koons covers rural affairs for Kansas City PBS in cooperation with Report for America. The work of our Report for America corps members is made possible, in part, through the generous support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Maddie Main is a production intern at Kansas City PBS.