CREATING SMILES, ONE JOB AT A TIME
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MORICHES, NEW YORK – On September 18th, 2015, Smile Farms Inc. hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and fundraiser in honor of their farm at IGHL (Independent Group Home Living). Smile Farms is proud to employ 35 farmers, 30 of whom are developmentally disabled adults, at the IGHL Moriches location in eastern Long Island. The farm has seventeen greenhouses, a mum field that doubles as a pumpkin patch and a micro-green growing house. Smile Farms was also recently labeled as “Certified American Grown".
Volunteers from all departments of 1-800-Flowers.com came together for this event to give tours, welcome guests, give out gifts, and answer questions about the farm. This time of the year is ideal for visitors to enjoy the greenhouses filled with mums, millet baskets, annual and perennial flowering plants, palms, papaya, ferns, dracaenas, microgreens and more! The event featured a live band, line dancers, a silent art auction, local food, live artists painting on the premise, and overall, a good time. Our visitors also had the opportunity to speak to the farmers and see how passionate they were about their jobs. Some of their responsibilities include mixing soil, potting plants, cleaning the area, helping customers, art projects, maintenance of the greenhouses, and watering plants. It was the perfect way for visitors to see how much the farmers enjoy working, while being able to earn their own paycheck.
However, not all developmentally disabled adults are happily employed and given this opportunity. This mission is what makes Smile Farms such an amazing, inspirational, and important initiative. It’s Smile Farms’ hope that one day we will not have to differentiate between categories of employers. Everyone has their own set of special talents and skills.
Overall, the event was a great success and raised $127,000 that will go towards improvements and additions to the farm! These generous contributions will help create additional greenhouses that will allow for greater production year-round, add vertical hydroponics year round, host nutritional education workshops or unique corporate events, and increase the efficiency of current heating methods to make them as environmentally friendly as possible.
We look forward to seeing at our event next year!