Centerville, Mississippi native Melissa Bryant understands the healing power of Harmony Farm of Mississippi. Her own transformational experience over the past year has led her to make a major change in her life, leaving behind a home and full-time job in Jackson to move to the 230-acre property in Learned.

Melissa worked for many years as a dental hygienist. In her off hours, she sought out healing modalities, such as yoga, hiking, kayaking, and therapy, to find peace within herself. She felt a deep gratitude for the opportunities that the healing community had provided her.

“I wanted to give back, but I wasn’t sure how,” said Melissa.

One day she was going through items on her desk and came across a brochure for Harmony Farm that she’d picked up several years prior. She called owner Nancy Goldman to ask about volunteer opportunities, and the two realized that they had met some time ago in Jackson’s Fondren neighborhood, where Melissa lived and Nancy worked.

“Our paths have been crossing and crossing over the years for so many reasons, but we’d never stopped and had a conversation,” said Melissa.

Melissa began volunteering at Harmony Farm with whatever was needed, grooming animals and lending a hand with therapy sessions. She loved being outdoors and feeling a strong sense of purpose.

“When Nancy and (her husband) Bill said they’d like to hire me, I was scared of giving up my independence,” said Melissa. She owned a house in Fondren and had a plum job at a local dental practice, with great pay and regular hours.

But the pull to Harmony Farm was stronger than her fear. “This is what I need to do,” Melissa decided.

“There was supposed to be a box that I fit in,” she said of her comfortable life in the city. “Well, I jumped out of the box.”

And jump she did: rented out her house, got rid of most of her belongings, and moved with her two dogs to Harmony Farm in a pop-up camper. It was a humbling process of letting go, she said, shedding layers from the past in order to freely move forward.

Now Melissa spends her days doing whatever’s needed around the farm: Mucking stalls, grooming and feeding animals, mending fences, or facilitating big events.

Unplugged and outside of the daily grind, she’s returned to the kind of quiet country living that she grew up with.

“There’s a calm that goes through me,” said Melissa of life on the farm. “The sounds of nature are very therapeutic for me, very familiar.”

“I came back to the farm to volunteer and realized I was supposed to be out there,” she said. “Harmony Farm adopted me, and I have adopted them.”

Harmony Farm is a transformative space along the Natchez Trace in Mississippi. Learn more about staying in our cottage or hosting an event with us.