First Ladies Farm and Sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) organization in Riverview. It specializes in rescuing cats, but more specifically, this unique nonprofit is an urban farm and sanctuary. It offers cat rescue, adoptions and a working barn cat program.

First Ladies Farm and Sanctuary provides the animals with love, care and a safe haven for as long as it takes to find them forever homes. Through its Street Strife to Farm Life Working Cat Program, the sanctuary reimagines the traditional TNVR (trap-neuter-vaccinate-return), to reduce the population of stray and unwanted cats in the community by placing them at farms, barns and other businesses in need of natural pest control.

This women and veteran-owned organization grew out of a passion for rescuing cats and kittens, but as the name suggests, it does so much more by also rescuing domestic poultry, such as chickens, ducks, geese and peafowl.

Many of the animals that are rescued have critical needs. They have been dumped, abused and even, in some cases, victims of arson. The organization started with one coop and six hens who were named after first ladies of the United States.

First Ladies Farm and Sanctuary is the only sanctuary/rescue for domestic poultry on the Florida Gulf Coast. It is often the last, best and only chance for animals such as cats and poultry with critical needs in the area.

Over the years, First Ladies Farm and Sanctuary has placed numerous animals in new homes. In 2018, it placed 13 kittens in new homes. In 2019, this number rose to 53 kittens, and then in 2020 the number dramatically rose to over 300.

First Ladies Farm and Sanctuary is not backed by large corporations and does not receive grants, and so it relies on the generosity of local people who donate. It maintains a low operational overhead, is very resourceful and knows how to make its dollars go as far as possible.

Chelsea Edmonds with First Ladies Farm and Sanctuary said, “We are a local rescue doing the hard work in Southeast Hillsborough County. We host adoptions and a local market featuring home-canned jams and jellies, fresh duck and chicken eggs and goat cheese. Check us out on Facebook under Events under Market information as well as scheduled events.”

First Ladies Farm and Sanctuary is located at 13028 Shadow Run Blvd. in Riverview. For more information, please visit

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