The Goat Yoga Fund is focused on three endeavors.
The percentage of the U.S. population living in cities has increased over 1,600% in the last 220 yrs., and 20% since 1960*. The prevalence of Depression and Anxiety Disorder can be up to 280% greater in urban households than rural**. Taken together, it is clear that the transition to urban life is helping to fuel what the World Health Organization foresees as a 25% rise in mental health disorders between 2003 and 2020***.
Fortunately, “Eco-Therapy” (aka “nature therapy”) has been shown to help ****…get the person out of the city and into nature, and the effects are amazing. Unfortunately, the very people most in need of Eco-Therapy are the ones least able to afford it. Your generous donations will help TGYF to fund those with mental health needs and connect them to the farms and goat yoga locations able help!
*U.S. Census Data, 1790-2010
**M. Venkataswamy Reddy & C.R. Chandrashekar, Indian J. Psychiat., “Prevalence of Mental and Behavioural Disorders in India: A Meta-Analysis.” 1998, 40(2), 149-157
***WHO “Mental Health Context” report, 2003.
****Gregory N. Bratman, J. Paul Hamilton, Kevin S. Hahn, Gretchen C. Daily, and James J. GrossPNAS first published June 29, 2015 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1510459112
Goat yoga is allowing rural households and family farms to supplement their income, diversify their revenue streams, and bring economic benefits to their communities. Simultaneously, agritourism endeavors nationwide are helping to market the rural household and family farm activities to support economic development goals.
However, while a limited number of goat yoga locations recently studied had an average gross income of $48,000 in 2018, not every location has a level of revenue that would allow them to host non-profit events and customers unable to pay for individual tickets. Also, not every agritourism endeavor has sufficient appeal to generate the desired number of urban visitors to rural locations.
Thus, TGYF is focused on funding events and visits that goat yoga locations might not normally be able to host, furthering economic development, providing a foundation for a community’s agritourism goals, and facilitating non-profits’ fundraising activities.
Goat yoga participants frequently mention their surprise about the calming effects that goats bring them, and the emotional impact of the sessions (not to mention the ‘goat happy hour’ mingling that takes place before and after the sessions).
However, anecdotes don’t suffice for county planners attempting to plug the activity into existing definitions of traditional farm use, or the ordinance and statute surrounding those definitions. Similarly, while there is ample evidence touting the beneficial mental health effects of horses and companion animals, there is no scientific research substantiating the specific beneficial effects of ‘goat therapy.’
TGYF is therefore working to research the effects of goat therapy, the health risks and benefits of goat exposure, and the link of goat therapy to existing definitions of farm use in existing ordinance and statute, allowing goat yoga to thrive nationally*!
* Environ Health Perspect. “Nature Contact and Human Health: A Research Agenda.” 2017 Jul; 125(7): 075001.
Published online 2017 Jul 31. doi: 10.1289/EHP1663