A Farm Less Ordinary’s intellectually disabled employees learn lessons in farming & in life

Virginia

“The idea of this farm was born on the back of a napkin,” said Greg Masucci, co-founder of A Farm Less Ordinary. He and his wife Maya, the other co-founder, moved their family to Bluefield in 2014 to make life simpler for their severely autistic son.

“We looked at the employment opportunities for someone like him,” said Masucci. “They were really not great. They have typically the same life expectancy as you and I, so, many times, that means without employment they’re basically sitting on a couch for 50 years, which, to me, is a fate worse than death.” 

To prevent such a fate, Greg and Maya started A Farm Less Ordinary: a three-acre farm with two to three different varieties of 20 different crops. Since it was founded in 2016, the nonprofit has only grown. The farm employs 17 intellectually and developmentally disabled people from around the area. 

The farm’s produce goes to the Loudoun County farmer’s market on Wednesday’s. It also goes to community supported agriculture shares. 

The employees make minimum wage or higher. They learn to plant and harvest crops and how to make jams and jellies. But at the farm, it’s the life skills that are priceless. 

“Yes, we’re a farm,” said Farm Manager Heather Richardson. “But our mission is not to grow thousands of pounds of vegetables. Our mission is to help build these employees to be incredible people to build up their confidence.” 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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