BEGINNINGS OF THE
CARE FARMING NETWORK
Founded in 1996, Red Wiggler is a sustainable farm where people with and without disabilities come together to work, learn, and grow healthy food in Germantown, Maryland. Over the past 25 years, we have developed innovative ways to engage youth and adults with and without disabilities in the growing and distribution of food through employment and education.
While we are always refining and adapting our programs, we have realized our position as a leader in the Care Farming movement. As such, we have established a Care Farming Network in the United States to bring together farms working specifically with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Our goal in creating this network is to share our successes, collaborate on challenges, and continue to increase our impact on creating meaningful employment for adults with disabilities through vocational horticultural therapy.
The Care Farming Network is a catalyst for creating and sharing resources for Care Farms to be successful.
Throughout Red Wiggler’s history, Executive Director and Founder, Woody Woodroof, has provided technical assistance to individuals interested in starting up Care Farms. He has provided consultations and support to establish these Care Farms which are operating today:
In October 2018, Red Wiggler began a concerted effort to outreach to existing Care Farms in the Mid-Atlantic area by making site visits, creating a Care Farm database, and reaching out to those Care Farms.
Also in October 2018, Red Wiggler, in partnership with Future Harvest CASA, produced the first-ever Mid-Atlantic Care Farming Summit attracting over 70 attendees from 7 states and Italy. Together we shared information and resources and engaged as a Care Farming community. Watch the video here!
In post-summit survey results, 100% of participants indicated that they were interested in attending an annual regional Care Farm conference and that they were interested in sharing best practices and resources on a document portal.
Here is a list of Care Farm attendees at the 2018 Mid-Atlantic Care Farming Summit.
- A Farm Less Ordinary from Bluemont, VA
- Langton Green Inc from Annapolis, MD
- Arcadia Food Inc from Washington, DC
- Blawesome, LLC from Chapel Hill, NC from Baltimore, MD
- Camphill Kimberton Village from Kimberton, PA
- Loaves and Fishes Farm from Harrisburg, PA
- Charles River Center from Wellesley, MA
- Lynchburg Grows from Lynchburg, VA
- Cura Personalis Project from Brookeville, MD
- Peacehaven Community Farm from Whitsett, NC
- Five Elements Farm from Worthington, PA
- La Lanterna di Diogene from Bomporto, Italy
- Full Pocket Farm from Montpelier, VA
- Talmar, Inc from Baltimore, MD
- Homefields from Millersville, PA
- Left Foot Organics from Olympia, WA
- Upcounty Community Resources from Germantown, MD
Here is the agenda for the Mid-Atlantic Care Farming Summit:
In November 2019, in coordination with the Farm-Based Education Network, Red Wiggler sponsored a Social Care Farming Track during the Farm-Based Education Network Conference (FBEN Conference). As part of the organizing committee, we organized the Social Care Farming Track, hosted a Care Farming meet-up, and presented 2 sessions.
In February 2020, Red Wiggler presented at Pennsylvania-Based Sustainable Agriculture Association's (PASA) 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Conference as part of a panel exploring Therapeutic Farming.
In 2021, we are excited to launch our new website, logo, and online Care Farm Directory . This year we are expanding the network and outreaching to Care Farms beyond the Mid-Atlantic. We plan to host a virtual workshop series as well as conduct on-site visits to other Care Farms. If you have an idea for the Care Farming Network or would like to host an online workshop, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.