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Tzvi Schectman
BY Tzvi Schectman

15 Farm & Ranch Communities For Individuals With Special Needs

Every parent worries about their child’s future and how they can prepare their child for the day when they will be on their own. For parents of a child with special needs the concern is much greater. Who will will take care of my child? Will he be happy? Will he lead a productive life? Special needs parents need to start preparing and planning their child’s future as soon as possible.

A Productive Work Environment

One of the main concerns when preparing for your child’s future is making sure they lead a productive life. Finding a job for someone with a disability is very difficult and can be frustrating.

Farms & Ranches

One of the fastest growing employment opportunities for individuals with special needs are farms & ranches. There are dozens of farms currently in the United States that offer programs and employment opportunities for individuals with special needs.

The Benefits Of Farm & Ranch Work

There are many reasons why farms and ranches are becoming popular options for special needs families, including:

  • The lifestyle is slower paced and more relaxing making it easier for individuals with special needs to adapt to their surroundings.
  • On a farm or ranch there a number of vocational activities and skills that individuals can learn.
  • A farm can offer a perfect opportunity to create a sustainable business for individuals with special needs by selling their produce in the local markets.

15 Special Needs Ranches & Farms

Here are 15 ranches and farms that offer programs for individuals with special needs. Know of a great farm or ranch? Tell us about it in the comments below.

1. Special Dreams Farm

Special Dreams FarmSpecial Dreams Farm is a 31 acre working farm exclusively for developmentally disabled adults (farmers). A farm where adults with autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, visually impaired , or other cognitive disabilities can perform meaningful work, contribute, gain self worth and confidence, while allowing social interaction.
Location: St. Clair Michigan

2. Triform

Triform is a 365 acre farm community with forests, fields, organic gardens, 10 houses, a barn with cows, a dairy, a weavery, a bakery, a pottery studio, a recreation hall, and a meeting hall. Triform was created for young adults with developmental disabilities, as residential or day students, who are on the threshold of the important transition to adulthood.
Location: Hudson, New York

3. Pinchbeck Rose Farm

The Pinchbeck Rose Farm operates under the umbrella of Roses for Autism and offers an integrated work environment to adults on the autism spectrum who cut, sort, grade, and care for the roses. Currently the farm grows 32,000 rose bushes, 25,000 lily bulbs, and 4,900 gerbera daisy plants a year.
Location: Guilford, Connecticut

4. Erik’s Ranches & Retreats

Erik's Ranch and RetreatsCurrently in development, Erik’s Ranch & Retreats  will not only home to young adults with autism spectrum disorders it offers volunteer guest accommodations that they run, living life with purpose. A few of the many working opportunities include: Artist/Musician in Residence, Equestrian Groom, Horticulturist/Gardener, Personal Concierge, Sous Chef, Tour Guide and more.
Locations: Edina, Minnesota and Bozeman, Montana

5. Lettuce Work

The Lettuce Work Foundation is dedicated to serving young adults with autism and training them for the future. Their goal is to build a fully-operational, self-sustaining commercial greenhouse business that provides school-to-work transition services, job training and employment opportunities for young autistic adults in a professional work environment. Lettuce Work specializes in growing produce that will be sold and delivered to local schools, hospitals, supermarkets and restaurants, and will generate revenue used to support the company’s mission: to build life-long independence for autistic adults by improving their work and communication skills.
Location: New Albany, Ohio

6. Down Home Ranch

Down Home Ranch is a working farm and ranch, where about 40 adults and children—including 32 with Down syndrome and other disabilities—live year round, caring for 330 rolling, forested acres of the Post Oak Savannah in Central Texas. The Ranch community also welcomes 160 people with disabilities to summer residential camps.
Location: Elgin, Texas

7.  Camp Hill Village

Camphill Village Kimberton Hills is a vibrant farming and handcrafting community that includes adults with developmental disabilities. Kimberton Hills residents, living and working side by side, create a dynamic and caring community for people of all ages and varied abilities.
Location: Kimberton, Pennsylvania

8. Mandy’s Farm

Mandys FarmMandy’s Farm provides residential and day Services to individuals with disabilities.  Located on a four-acre farm that is equipped with a fully-operating barn for therapeutic horsemanship, an organic garden, greenhouse, orchard, and full-size indoor therapeutic pool, Mandy’s helps individuals explore opportunities to advance their education, employment, life skills, health, and well-being.  Their services are designed to help individuals identify, develop, and achieve their goals.
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

9. Farmsteads of New England

Farmsteads of New England is a farming community that caters to the needs of people who have autism and other developmental disabilities. they provide programs’ participants with meaningful work and numerous opportunities for recreation and socialization. Farmsteads of New England offers residential programs, day services and respite programs.
Location: Hillsborough and Epping, New Hampshire.

10. Farm In The Dell

The Farm in the Dell Foundation works to build community-based, self-supporting farming homes for the disabled. The Foundation works to acquire land, build the home, begin the farm, and integrate the entirety into the local community in a way that is beneficial for both the community and the residents and workers at the farms.
Locations: Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Power River, Kalispell, Montana. Also in Saskatoon, Canada and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

11. Vine Village

Vine VillageVine Village is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing people with developmental disabilities the quality of life that should be the birthright of every person.  Located on a beautiful 25-acre ranch, Vine Village offers residential and day programs that are designed to meet each individual’s needs for personal development, social interaction, independence and the security of knowing he or she is accepted and valued.
Location: Napa, California

12. The Farmer’s House

The Farmer’s House programs provide the chance to cultivate self-esteem, grow a sense of self worth, and harvest the confidence and passion that come from a job well done. This day program provides a community-integrated, hands on work environment where participants learn valuable vocational skills by experiencing all aspects of running a small business, including stocking shelves, interacting with customers, operating a cash register, and so much more. The Garden teaches individuals with developmental disabilities the vocational aspects of planning, planting, growing, distributing and selling their garden vegetables in addition to the benefits of eating healthy food choices.
Location: Weston, Misouri

13. Sunridge Ranch

Sunridge Ranch was specifically designed and created to promote the positive physical, cognitive, social, emotional and daily living skills development of a maximum of four adults with autism and other disabilities. The ranch offers jobs such as gardening, working in the orchards, raising livestock, farm repair and more.
Location: Ellensburg, Washington

14. Hope Springs Farm

Hope Springs Farm is a scenic 17-acre farm that features a 6,000 square-foot fruit, vegetable and herb garden, a barn, a large chicken house and fenced grazing pastures. The mission of Hope Springs Farm is to provide adults with developmental disabilities meaningful work on a farm and joyful group activities that lead to satisfying friendships in a licensed adult day program.
Location: Hershey, Pennsylvania

15. Echoing Hope Ranch

Echoing Hope Ranch will create an agricultural community where teens and adults with autism have the opportunity to participate in ranching and farming activities while contributing to the adjoining community. The ranch will be built with alternative energy conscious techniques such as solar and/or wind power, rainwater harvesting and production of our own food in an effort to live a healthier lifestyle and be as self-sufficient as possible.
Locaton: Bisbee, Arizona

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Tzvi Schectman

Written on March 4, 2013 by:

Tzvi Schectman is the Family Coordinator for the Friendship Circle of Michigan and the Editor of the the Friendship Circle Blog. You can connect with Tzvi on LinkedIn and Google+
  • Greg

    Great list – I would add Dutton Farm – Rochester Hills,Mi

    • Friendship Ministries

      Somebody from a farm in Rochester, MI called me at Friendship Ministries wanting to “talk shop”. She didn’t leave the name of the farm or a phone number…This may be a long shot, but if you know who she is, can you ask her to call us back? Thanks, LaVonne

  • Our family, including our young daughter with Down syndrome, spent a year as a “house family” at a Camphill Community in Ireland. We’d be happy to answer questions about Camphill and share our experience with other families. Wonderful experience!

  • Avishai Bashan

    Check out this list of Camphil Communities of N. America. Some of them, run farms.

  • Elizabeth Sandoval

    Shire House is not a farm or a ranch, but we do offer respite for parents needing a break from caring for a young adult with Aspergers.

  • AACORN Farm is a new nonprofit in southwest Michigan and our goal is to have a farm where adults with autism will have lives and work that is meaningful. Our motto is “Expanding Choices, Creating Community” We welcome all who are interested in our project and hope someday to be a farm like the ones in this article!!! (AACORN = Autism Agricultural Community Option for Residential Need)

  • Penny
  • Penny

    Here’s another I found as I’m reading about the farms Tzvi spotlighted and am doing a little more research:

  • benjamin’s hope is a brand new one in holland, mi

  • for Rainbow Acres, a ranch in Arizona providing homes with heart and lives of purpose for adults with developmental disabilities. 2 new homes being built, allowing space for 10 persons in each. Great programs! Call 928-567-5231 for information or to arrange a tour.

  • Camphill Foundation

    Camphill is a worldwide movement that is dedicated to creating communities where the values of service, sharing, spiritual nourishment, and recognition of each individual’s gifts and contributions offer a model of renewal for the wider society. In Camphill communities, daily life is shared with children, youth, and adults who have disabilities – in ways that are both intentionally therapeutic and intentionally personal. The result is that Camphill offers all community members a life of accomplishment, celebration, and meaning. More info on where communities are at

  • alexis>

    I am a high school student that lives in washington. I would like to jobshadow someone at Sunridge ranch. If anyone knows how to get a hold of them please let me know.

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  • Andrei Tsitou

    How are you? Please consider my resume.
    Andrei Tsitou
    My phone 785-304-6279
    skype: ilent84211
    1118 Ne 2 St
    Hallandale.FL 33009
    I know how to handle the tools. Worked with a chainsaw, drill, familiar with carpentry work. I know how to repair the floor, walls, roof.


    I have some working experience in the USA (Working J-1 visa for 6 month:
    April-September 2010). I had a job as an Associate Veterinarian at the
    local pig farm in Alexis, IL. I was responsible for the animal vaccination
    at the farm. I participated in some small surgeries, preventive
    practices, providing some nutritional diets and taking care of some
    animals. Also I can operate a farm tractor and some other farm equipment.

    I would like to have some position at the animal farm according to my
    basic education and working experience in the USA and Belarus.

    Summary of my skills:

    Five years of experience in animal vaccination and animal
    Excellent veterinary skills
    Capable of performing surgeries under anesthesia
    Good communication skills
    Good computer skills
    Ability to solve the problems and work individually

    MD in Veterinary Medicine from Vitebsk Academy of Veterinary
    Medicine, Belarus (2006)

    Work Experience in
    (July 2008 -2010-2012) Independent Veterinarian Consultant
    Present-Kritcev, Belarus
    Veterinarian consulting services
    Providing the basic nursing care to the animal
    Successfully performed anesthetic surgeries of the animals
    Taking care of the animals if shifted to the intensive care
    unit after surgery
    Required veterinarian vaccinations

    (January 2006 – May 2008)Sokolnichi LLC, General Veterinarian Belarus
    Responsible for the providing first aid to dogs, cats, pigs
    and other animals
    Carrying out anesthetic surgery in case of emergency
    Responsible for conducting an orthopedic and other surgeries
    Responsible for deciding pet nutrition and prescribing the pet
    diet according to the pet’s health after surgery till recovery


    I am ready to feed and give to drink to animals, to clean rooms where they
    to contain. It is ready to carry out small repair of rooms. I am able to
    work about a drill, a hammer, a screw-driver,,a petrolsaw and other tools.
    On a farm in Alexis. IL I cleaned farms where pigs contained, disinfected
    a farm, and feeding troughs for pigs. I have a driver’s license of
    Illinois. I am ready to work for you.

    I am able to work on a tractor. To plough the earth. To sow grain. To wash farms. To clean stalls. To vaccinate pigs. I know it hard to find work in the USA on a farm. Please help to find work to me. I want to work legally in the USA and to pay all taxes. CDL D Illinois.

  • Mari-Anne Kehler

    Go to for a map of all such farms and ranches in North America.

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  • Sammie Hutchison

    Thank you for the list. We will be checking into Mandy’s Farm as a place to volunteer.

    Another facility to add to this list is Rainbow Acres in Camp Verde, AZ. It is incredible-my brother has been living there for the past year & a half.

  • spktruth200

    We parents want to do this in Delaware. Are you autistic folks on a Medicaid Waiver? If so , what kind. As states are moving against group homes and activity centers for those who have severe disabilities, our kids will be left with nothing. How and who can we contact to help us with our project. Living in rural Sussex county Delaware where farming is huge, we believe the serenity, and quietness of farm life will help our sons/daughters…but we need more information. please contact me at: 302 945 2434, or [email protected]. thanks.

    • Sandra

      Have you had any response or gotten any info? My husband and I have been talking also about developing a farm in rural West Central MN. We are a farming community. It’s been 7 yrs of looking into this. Talked with two of our congress and nothing yet. Cost is a big issue. But our hopes are to get a board set up soon and get the organization off the ground. It will take a lot if time, but it is something so needed. Some of these young adults will loose out on what they can accomplish and do things to their full potential.

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  • Steven Mcinnis

    very Nice list As a person who is getting his non profit status for a Farm and day program in Maine. My goal is to give some of the Farm’s production to local food pantry and meals on wheel. Rest would be for the clients in their homes and for day program. Any tips would be welcome on fund raising

  • Robin Lavender

    Wondering how all the farming sites are dealing with the most recent new rules coming from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid – referring to the Home and Community Based Rules which at this point are indicating that “farms” are not compliant to the rules. Thoughts?

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  • Latonya Johnson

    Its hard when you don’t have know one to help you when you want to go to the store are go out sometimes with friends I’m 34 and its not getting easy its getting hard and I’m at my breaking point

    • Amy Busch

      Are you getting good services? I may be able to help contact me

      • tuti

        may I contact you, I need help with services for my daughter.

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  • anna

    have you come across any farm communities for DD teen girls?

  • Billy Dee

    These are all wonderful options – thank you for sharing this list! I would also like to mention a program in Austin, Texas, that has been making a positive impact for over 60 years. It is the Marbridge Foundation, so you might want to check it out to see if it might be a good fit for you and your family.

  • These places all sound amazing & what a great way to teach usable skills people can use their entire life.

  • The Carole Sund Center in Eureka California. This is a small working farm where the participants are able to work with goats, chickens, growing vegetables outside and in a green house aquaponics system. Visit the website at

  • Butler Valley is a a Humboldt County non profit, providing both residential homes and day program services to adults with intellectual disabilities.

  • Paul Motheral

    I am a father of Abbey.. A wonderful daughter who has nonverbal autism. We lost her mom to breast cancer and I live in an area where I don’t receive any ideas and places like this. I would give my all to meet others who have made this type model work. It would restore my soul. Where would any of you recommend that I begin to meet others who have found creative solutions like these. I would pour all of my time, my talents to work with others like these. When you are alone and tired you can begin to feel so hopeless. Finding people like this might show me the way to Save Abbey… make her life brighter and better.. and find a way that others like me would pick up the torch when I die. I hope some of you understand where I’m coming from. Thanks for listening. PM

  • Supra14

    Can you please help me find residential placement for me son? When I hear back from you I will share our info. Privately. Thank you for these fragile people.

  • Ann Cam Susan Ann

    I have an adult son with downs syndrome and is in an abusive board and care. Is there any homes that would be nurturing for him in California? He is the sweetest and doesn t deserve what he’s going through. This board and care person feeds him junk food every meal and takes it out of his personal needs money…takes him gambling til all hours of the night…and is mean to him. His roommate slaps him and throws stuff at him. My hands are tied right now and there’s nothing I can do. Please respond…he is needing help out of there.

    • Carol

      Report the home to your state licensing department that oversees Medicaid group homes. Google your state name and “licensing for residential group homes.” The name and number should be posted publically in your son’s group home, but it might not be if they are breaking other rules. Then ask your son’s social worker to find him another group home!

  • Jessie Raupach Berned

    I am a special education teacher with a life long dream to start a farm school for individuals with disabilities. I currently have an 11 acre lot in rural NC near the Raleigh area. I just don’t know where to get started to make this dream come true. Can anyone offer some suggestions for how to begin?

    • taraterm3

      Hi there, my name is Tara and Im in NJ, I have the same idea. email me, I just got some great info from Ohios Bittersweet Farms Ill email you the info if you would like or you can contact Tammy Chambers at BitterSweet Farms.

    • taraterm3

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