CHALLENGED ADULTS IN THE GARDEN-
Peacehaven Farm grows more than just food. Residents and members of the larger community work together, learn together, and develop relationships that benefit everyone.
Making gardening and farming accessible to all ability levels can be challenging. At Peacehaven Community Farm, adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are given the space, materials, and support to grow produce. Peacehaven was founded in 2009 as a community farm and transformed into a sanctuary for adults with disabilities to live and work.
In 2014, the first residence building was completed, providing living space for four adults. The farm features raised garden beds and gravel paths making it ADA-certified and accessible for wheelchairs. Every Saturday, Peacehaven welcomes people
from Alamance and Guilford Counties to work at the farm alongside differently abled adults. The 89-acre farm grows more than just food: It grows relationships between community members and Peacehaven residents. The food grown at Peacehaven is used by the residents and is donated to local food banks. All gardening is done organically, and volunteers and residents are taught sustainable growing practices.
Peacehaven Community Farm is a great model for anyone interested in creating gardening and farming spaces for adults with disabilities or supporting the collaboration of differently abled people working together.
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In operation for more than a decade, Peacehaven Farm demonstrates how to incorporate all abilities
into community gardens and teaching farms. Including all abilities into community gardens benefits
everyone, and making these spaces inclusive and accessible isn’t hard. Raised garden beds are a natural
first start. Building your garden beds higher off the ground can make them ADA accessible and make it
easier for older adults to access as well. If you want to cater to a specific disability, there are certain
types of plants that are appropriate for sensory, visual, and emotional disabilities that make for a
therapeutic gardening experience. Engaging adults with disabilities in the garden helps them build social
skills and nurtures relationships. Include everyone in your garden by making slight changes to the
landscape and what you’re growing!