Our community members with severe mental illness will live longer, healthier, inclusive, and more self-sufficient lives.
The Farm at Penny Lane partners with individuals with mental illness to grow nutritious food for themselves and others and offers integrated, community-based, therapeutic programs in an inclusive farm setting.
We set aside Thursday afternoons for farm tours. Please contact the Farm Program Manager to schedule a visit.
- The Farm was established through a partnership between the nonprofit XDS Inc. and the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health (CECMH).
Collaborating with the North Carolina Botanical Gardens and Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church, volunteers broke ground for a Community Garden in the fall. The K-Bird walking trail was also blazed.
Horticultural Therapy sessions began to be offered to CECMH clients.
- Volunteer work days took place every Friday morning.
- A greenhouse with a demonstration aquaponics system was built and an apiary was established.
Fifty, heritage-breed chicks arrived and the garden area was expanded to approximately one-half acre.
Produce was delivered weekly to CECMH’s Carr Mill clinic for clients to take free of charge and was sold at the Fearrington Farmers Market.
Volunteer work days took place twice each week and on one Saturday per month.
A partnership formed with Communities in Schools of Chatham County with supervised youth providing community service hours at the farm.
- Chatham Assertive Community Treatment Team clients and Club Insight members began receiving produce and eggs on a weekly basis through the Farm to Home program.
- The high tunnel construction was completed and the chickens moved to a more sheltered area.
- The farm began using permaculture design and growing principles.
- The field was widened on the western edge and the Learning Garden was established in the main garden.
- Wednesdays in the Garden, a farmer-led, therapeutic gardening group was held weekly.
- Multiple wellness classes were offered, including Yoga for Wellness, Field to Fork cooking class, Healthy Homes, and Mindful Art.
- Thirty logs were inoculated with Shiitake spores and produced over five pounds of mushrooms.
- The Wellness, Education, Leadership, and Lifestyle (WELL) pilot program offered a schedule of classes focused on whole person health.
- Our Farm to Market program was discontinued in favor of distributing all of our produce through the Farm to Home and Farm to Clinic programs.
- Partnering with the NC Department of Vocational Rehabilitation we developed a farm assistant internship.
- The Farm to Home Harvest Crew vocational program was launched. Clients were trained to harvest, clean, bunch, and pack the individualized produce bags distributed to Farm to Home recipients in exchange for their own Farm to Home bag.
- Brushes with Life Art Studio, Nature’s Expression, Holiday Hangout, Yoga for Wellness, Field to Fork, and Wednesdays in the Garden groups were offered.
- Approximately five gallons of honey was harvested from our two bee hives.
- A gathering deck was constructed by an Eagle Scout.
- We reconstructed our damaged greenhouse.
- We co-hosted the Southeastern Social Care Farming Conference.
- 35 individuals across four programs participated in activities, with 31% participating in two or more programs.
- Weekly horticultural therapy sessions occurred over 46 weeks, with 12 people attending at least one session and three people attending more than 30 sessions.
- In partnership with the UNC School of Nursing, the WELL (Wellness, Education, Leadership, and Lifestyle) program, a weekly, class-style learning environment, was offered four times over the course of the year. The daily schedule began with an opening, time to learn and work in the garden, movement, lunch with basic cooking instruction, interpersonal or independent living skills, and a closing. During the four, six- to eight-week sessions, 28 individuals participated from Chatham, Wake, Orange, and Durham counties. Attendance averaged 71% across all four season-long sessions.
- The Farm to Home Harvest Crew program continued throughout 2018. Two distinct weekly crews of 2 – 3 clients participated in the program. Three of the seven clients were new to the program this year. The other four were returning from last year. Shifts lasted about 3-4 hours, ranging from 7-25 weeks. For the fall session, Farm to Home was reduced to once every other week. On the alternating weeks, Farm to Home was replaced by an experimental Clinic Farm Stand.
- Approximately 150 individuals volunteered (clients and non-clients)
- 521 eggs were laid by the Penny Lane flock this year.
- The total amount of produce distributed to Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health clients was 2,730 lbs., with an approximate retail value of $8,190.
The Farm at Penny Lane is appreciative of the support it receives from many local, state, and national organizations.
Binkley Baptist Church
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Chatham Health Alliance
Communities in Schools of Chatham County
Love Chapel Hill
Priya Balagopal Memorial Fund
North Carolina Botanical Garden
North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
St. Francis of Assisi, Raleigh
Sustainable Poultry Network
UNC Department of Allied Health Sciences
UNC Department of Psychiatry
UNC School of Nursing
UNC School of Social Work