We are Jeff and Bencita Brooks from Deep Gap, North Carolina. Jeff is an outdoorsman with a natural love for beekeeping and gardening. Five years ago, he asked himself the question, “What can I do in order to maximize fruit production from the twenty plus blueberry bushes in our backyard?” This question began an endeavor towards the lifelong pursuit of keeping bees on the farm. Bencita has worked for more than thirty years as a speech-language therapist- a love specifically with children working to overcome unique challenges. She also has twelve years of natural horsemanship experience characterized by building relationships with horses based on trust and respect. Currently, Bencita is learning how to incorporate equine movements to engage the cognitive, sensory and neuromotor systems of individuals with disabilities as part of an integrated plan of care. Our very verbal, energetic daughter, Bella brings joy and laughter to our family and to the farm. She delights in running as fast as she can, eating ice cream, swinging in circles and sticking her head in the creek.
As a family, we enjoy doing anything outside including picking blueberries, spending time with our neighbors, going to the park and playing tennis and soccer. We believe the Lord has planned and purposed our lives for a time such as this, both individually and as a family and the farm is one of the ways of loving our Creator and our neighbor. It was these combined experiences that lead to de la Cruz Farms. Jeff is the Vice President and Bencita is the President of the Board of Directors for de la Cruz Farms.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Mitchell Gragg – board member
My name is Mitchell Gragg. I work in farm management at Critcher Brothers. I have been farming since I was a young boy, which has taught me to live life by faith, leaving all things in God’s unfailing hands. My wife, Tammy, and I have two children, Jake 2003 and Kasey 2006. We raise beef cattle and have owned a horse boarding business since 2005. Tammy is a Speech Language Pathologist for Watauga County Schools, fulfilling her life’s dream by working with children who have a variety of special needs. Our family enjoys kickball, volleyball games, biking on trails and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Our children share our love of horses and riding, as well as our vision to use horseback riding as a way to tell people about God and His amazing grace.
Jennifer Cook – secretary
My name is Jennifer Cook. Dan, my husband of almost 22 years, and I have been blessed with three beautiful children, Alison 2001, Bailey Grace 2003, and Ben 2003. We have a small farm in Deep Gap with chickens, cattle, and goats. We feel right at home on the de la Cruz Farm. In fact, my children and I volunteered at the VBS event last year. We all had a wonderful time and the best thing was that my nephew came to the know the Lord! Our family loves the Lord and wants to serve Him and His Kingdom. What a blessing de la Cruz Farms is to our family and the community.
Doug Cheshier – board member
My name is Doug and I am the outreach & assimilation pastor at Alliance Bible Fellowship. I joined the church staff in January 2001. My wife, Beth and I and our three children Caleb, Rachel, Emily, daughter- in- law Jessica and son-in-law Marc love the High Country. We have recently had the joy of welcoming our first granddaughter, Briley to our family! I graduated from Columbia International University and my passion is to get people connected to the church body and be involved in missions. I enjoy fishing, hunting, muscle cars and motorcycles.
Gretchen Baldwin – treasurer
My name is Gretchen and my husband, Cliff and I have spent our last 17 years in Boone. We have together six children, including four adult children, and two still in the nest (Emily 2005 and Molly 2006). God has placed within our hearts a true love for the mission at de la Cruz Farms and a desire to serve Him daily there, helping care for His sweet creation as well as loving on those coming to visit the farm. As a family, we are loving this new season God has planned. We love spending our free time together outside as a family and getting to watch our girls grow in the Lord in the direction He has purposed for them.