Please read the following letter from ACAA cofounders Gene Bensinger and Vicki Obee to HUD. This letter is a time sensitive response to a recommendation to HUD from the National Council on Disability (NCD), a federal agency, which HUD apparently did not solicit. It isn’t a formal comment on any HUD proposal. The purpose of our letter is to offset a terrible policy initiative from the NCD, and hopefully stimulate some future dialogue with HUD (and perhaps the NCD).
Agricultural Communities for Adults with Autism (ACAA) is a consortium of existing and in-formation organizations focused on sharing best practices and advocating for holistic, agricultural based employment and housing models for adults with autism.
Our consortium was created to provide information to adults with autism, their families, academics, professionals, legislators, policy makers and others and as a portal to link to our member’s sites and other relevant resources. We want to educate people about the common characteristics and differences in agricultural communities in the United States. Our website also exists to dispel the incorrect notion that agricultural communities are institutional, segregated congregate care models when, in fact, our members, residents, and day program participants are strongly woven into the fabric of their respective communities. We are non-urban, low density community based integrated models.
Agricultural communities are a terrific option for adults with autism in our community who prefer the choice of a non-urban, community based, active lifestyle that typically combines a variety of rewarding employment opportunities with quality, affordable housing and a wealth of activities in their local communities.
All of our communities report no openings and long waiting lists. Turnover is rare because we offer lifespan models. We are contacted daily by people from all over the world who want to have the choice of an agricultural model like one of ours. We give dozens of tours a year to interested adults and their families. We think the only way they will be able to access an agricultural model is to come together with others to create a model in their own area.
Creating a community is difficult but not impossible. Some of us are in formation but many have already created communities. Some have been in place for decades so the models are “time-tested” and successful.
Articles of Interest to Agricultural Communities
- All About Community Supported Agriculture as an Enterprise for Adults with Autism. The Homestead.
- Breaking News from Autism Speaks Supporting Choice in Housing including Agricultural Communities.
- Opening Doors: A Discussion of Residential Options for Adults Living with
Autism and Related Disorders
- SAGE Report on the Economic
Impact of Autistic Children Entering the Adult Population
- Alice G. Walton. Living Life With Autism: Has Anything Really Changed? Forbes, November 2011.
- Mark L. Olson. Choice v. Olmstead: Op-Ed on Proposed Changes to the Medicaid HCBS Waiver Provisions. 2011.
- Group Sets Sights on Teaching Farm for Autistic Adults (Friends of Autistic People). Stamford Advocate, September 2010.
- Linda H. Davis. Still Overlooking Autistic Adults. Washington Post, April 2009.
- Linda H. Davis. Autistic and Overlooked. Washington Post, April 2008.
- ARI Adults with ASD eBulletin September 11, 2012
We’d love to hear from you! Send inquiries to Vicki Obee, executive director of Bittersweet, Inc. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- On Greener Grass; CA
- Sunridge Ranch; Ellensburg, WA
- LTO Ventures; Henderson, NV
- Rusty’s Morningstar Ranch; Cornville, AZ
- Echoing Hope Ranch; AZ
- Mandy’s Special Farm for Women with Autism; Albuquerque, NM
- Erik’s Ranch; Edina, MN
- The Homestead; Altoona, IA
- Bittersweet Farms; Whitehouse, OH
- Safe Haven Farms; Liberty Township, OH
- Lettuce Work; New Albany, OH
- Hiram Farm; Hiram, OH
- Full Spectrum Farms; Cullowhee, NC
- Carolina Living and Learning Center; Chapel Hill, NC
- Hope Springs Farm; Hershey, PA
- Friends of Autistic People; Greenwich, CT
- Roses for Autism; Guilford, CT
- SAGE Crossing Foundation; Harvard, MA
- Farmsteads of New England; Hillsborough, NH
- AACORN Farm; Kalamazoo, MI
- Homestead Community Farm; Amherst, MA
- Triangle Cross Ranch; Galeton, CO
- 3 Irish Jewels Farm; Cary, NC
- Carolina Farms; Albemarle, NC
- Golden Heart Ranch; Hermosa Beach, CA
- The Holland Project; West Newbury, MA
- SustainAbility Services, Inc.; Long Island, NY
- The Farmers House; Shawnee Mission, KS
- Juniper Hill Farms; Southeastern PA
- Judevine Center for Autism
- Hacienda Oaks Estates; Simi Valley, CA
- Camphill Soltane; Glenmoore, PA
- Good Works Farm, Inc.; Miamisburg, OH
- Plowshare Farm; Greenfield, NH
- Heartbeet Lifesharing; Hardwick, VT
Map of Sites
View ACAA Members in a larger map