MARS HILL — As if Beryl Frohriep wasn't busy enough organizing weekly food distributions serving families throughout Madison County, recently she's had even more on her plate as a TV show production crew is documenting her family's experience with its many animals on its Mars Hill farm.
Frohriep founded Wild Heart Farm & Sanctuary, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with the mission "To create a community that heals and nurtures people, animals and the land, full circle," in 2019.
The HBO Max show, "Rescue Babies," is about children's relationships with rescued animals and the kids who help take care of them.
“'Rescue Babies' is an authentic, first-person look at baby animals through the eyes of the kids who always dreamed of raising them,” Frohriep said of the show, which It she said will air in summer 2022.
The Wild Heart Farm and Sanctuary owner said her family was the first the crew asked to participate in the upcoming show.
Filming has focused on Frohriep and her husband Matt's four children — Stella, 6; Alice, 8; Jasper, 10; and Everett, 10 — and their relationship with Ziggy, a newborn baby goat.
"They approached us online after seeing a video of Ziggy the newborn baby goat on our Instagram account (@wildheartfarmsanctuary)," Frohriep said. "They requested a Zoom casting call with the kids, the kids did the casting call on Nov. 12th, were picked Nov. 18th, and the film production crew came to shoot on the weekend of the 27th. It has all happened very quickly."
Frohriep, a Los Angeles native, founded Wild Heart in 2019. It is an animal sanctuary that works with local rescue organizations to help animals in need, Frohriep said.
"Wild Heart was always intended to be more than 'just a sanctuary,' but a community, a lifestyle, a participatory dream," she told The News-Record in November. "Wild Heart is my love letter to the world. It’s my never-ending work of art that embodies community, and it is my purpose-fueled passion to see it reach its highest potential so that all may benefit from this project we co-create."
During COVID, Frohriep began offering weekly food distributions, serving 700-900 pounds of food to roughly 40 families each week.
The program sets up each Tuesday from 5-6 p.m. at the Madison County Visitors Center.
However, Frohriep said her hope is the show will expose her to others who may lend a helping hand with the sanctuary, too.
"I started this nonprofit at the end of 2019, and I have worked on it every single day since then," Frohriep said. "I do not take a paycheck. I don't take vacations. I am completely dedicated to doing everything I possibly can to help grow this organization to reach it's full potential. Every donation received goes right towards our programs — animal sanctuary, free food share, community garden.
"My intention with agreeing to do this show is that I hope it brings some much needed support from new donors who believe in what we do. I care for over 70 rescued farm animals — horses, donkeys, alpacas, goats, pigs, dogs, cats, chickens, geese, ducks and a turkey — and have agreed to care for them until the end of their natural lives. That's expensive, and very hard work."
The kids were surprised that they were scouted to be on a television show, as were their parents, Frohriep said.
"They especially couldn't wait to tell all of their friends at school the next day," she said. "When they aren't at school, they're usually outdoors: playing in the woods, helping to care for the animals, building something out of found objects, and living the way kids should. They especially love when we have baby animals at the sanctuary and to help out with them. I just so happened to capture some really sweet photos and videos of them with Ziggy, which got them the gig."
Frohriep said filming will continue through January.
According to Frohriep, while the sanctuary currently is not open to the public, she plans to offer classes and campsites this summer.
Wild Heart Farm & Sanctuary is available online at https://wildheartfarmsanctuary.org/.
This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Mars Hill family to be featured on upcoming HBO MAX show Rescue Babies