Special needs people, volunteers plant fruit orchard
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WHITSETT — With shovels in hand, dozens of volunteers and people with special needs planted a fruit orchard at Peacehaven Community Farm in Whitsett, Friday.
The orchard is one of 20 made possible by The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and the financial support of Edy's Fruit Bars. Peacehaven Community Farm began a few years ago with a community garden nurtured by volunteers and people with physical and intellectual disabilities.
They volunteers have now filled a hillside with trees that one day will bear fruit. They are another manifestation of Peacehaven's mission.
"Often times, sadly, folks with disabilities can live pretty isolated lives and so what Peacehaven wants to be is a place where folks can engage with the community," said Peacehaven co-founder Buck Cochran. "We can bring people together in the work of the farm."
The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation provided a quick lesson in planting trees provided by Edy's Fruit Bars. Peacehaven and 19 other community organizations received the most votes in a nationwide online competition.
"Their mission and their vision is so heart touching that this program is really rewarding for us to be able to come in this morning to Peacehaven and give this fruit orchard to them," said the company's Lauren de la Parra.
The volunteers were enthusiastic.
"I got online and read about Peacehaven and I thought, wow, what an amazing opportunity this is to come out and help them grow as a farm," said Heather Holt.
The farm took root in 2007. Cochran and his co-founders, Tim and Susan Elliott, are parents of children with special needs. Peacehaven hopes to break ground in the months ahead on the first of five homes for special needs adults, the culmination of a dream.