Special Needs, Special Jobs
And you just walk, and spread it around. This is my favorite task!
We employ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and we offer them a welcoming community.
We also grow organic vegetables along the way, and through all of that, we teach our growers basic employment skills.
Jack, why do we start our seeds in trays?
So they can grow faster.
Then what do we do?
Put them outside when they are partially grown.
I'm always showing the employees how to do everything step-by-step.
So, I really try to stick with it until they fully understand.
Then, I slowly back off and my goal is to get to the point where I can be, like, all right, so and so, can you please go transplant.
They know how to get their tray and what tools they need.
Other days, we just have to get the job done. Like today we had to spread seed though it's raining, but we had to do it.
I am a big fan of chickens. Clean coops out, get eggs and get fresh water. I have a big coop at home, like 10 chickens.
He does love it. He loves to get his hands dirty. He likes to be involved. With that comes success. When he plants something and he sees it growing, he's very proud of himself.
This is buckwheat, which is a quick growing cover crop.
Feed the soil.
So, 2015 we spent that year learning how to farm.
So, I signed up for all those classes, beginning farmer classes, how to get your hands dirty, the financial part of things.
And then, I read a lot of books, and we spent our first year just experimenting and throwing a lot of seeds in the ground.
We have a severely autistic child named Max, our son.
Max is 11 years old, turning 12 in November. He is a high-energy boy. He's nonverbal.
Being out here also gives him an opportunity to burn off some of his energy in a way that we couldn't give him, when we lived in the middle of Washington D.C.
So, Max was the inspiration for the farm, but he wasn't the whole reason we did the farm.
People with those developmental, intellectual disabilities have an over 80 percent unemployment rate and we're trying to change that.
When people are not in the employment picture, you know, they end up being socially isolated as I mentioned, and it also puts a financial burden on families.
Sprinkle fertilizer on top.
Yeah. Why do we add fertilizer?
So this thing can grow.
Farming really helps people with developmental, intellectual disabilities,
because it's a lot of small tasks that you need to do with your hands, which a lot of people might not have great hand-eye coordination or something like that,
and it's also a lot of fine motor skills which can also be really difficult.
They can learn that, all right, the world maybe set up this way, but I can make accommodations for myself.
I can go outside the box and create a tool that's going to help me get the job done no matter what.
Hey Josh, want to give me a hand with the goats?
We want to be a stepping-stone. If somebody wants to continue to work here, that's great, but if they get another job outside here, we're thrilled.
We moved out here to, kind of, build our own tribe and surround ourselves with similar people and I think we've succeeded in that.