A place of hope for families whose options are limited, according to Janice Agarwal, Watch Us Farm has not only gained essential service status during the COVID-19 pandemic but it also continues to expand the options for the people it serves. Aside from a full-functioning farm that frequents many farmer’s markets in the area, the location also provides opportunities for textiles, maintenance, car detailing and greeting card creation. Most notably, it is building a large hoop house to grow vegetables and assist the local schools in their science curriculum.
Watch Us Farm provides adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to learn, work and thrive in a jobs program on a farm.
“We employ high-functioning adults with autism, brain injury, and intellectual impairment in a secure and nurturing environment,” Agarwal said. “Long term, we hope to create a self-sustaining community combining jobs, housing, and social engagement for these often forgotten adults.”
The latest addition to the farm is a 96-by-96-foot galvanized steel frame hoop house donated by Witham Health Services. The hoop house will be used to grow organic vegetables and help house educational opportunities for local schools.
“This will extend our growing season, increase the variety of organic produce we grow, increase training, job skills, and services to our community,” Agarwal said. “We plan to offer organic, locally grown produce to area markets and restaurants. A future dream is to have a restaurant right on our campus! All of this is maintained by our adults with special needs.”
Watch Us Farm developed a partnership with the Zionsville Lions Club, and together, complying with health regulations, hosted their second annual Fall Festival. The day before the event two Highland calves were born. The group plans to host the Fall Festival again this year.
The Farm will also grow its number of employees this year from nine to a possible 15 people if COVID- 19 precautions allow.
The Barn Yard BBQ fundraiser on Saturday Aug. 7 from 4-8 p.m. will be a relaxed opportunity for the community to check out the farm while enjoying smoked BBQ pork sandwiches with baked beans, coleslaw, chips, and a drink. Plates will be $8 each and all are invited. Families can either bring a blanket and sit out on the lawn or drive in and drive out with food.
The Dinner at Dusk fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 6-10 p.m. will be a more dressed up white table cloth limited seating RSVP event, with a multi-course meal using fresh produce from our farm prepared by a local caterer, silent, online and live auctions, and opportunities to purchase individual tickets or sponsor a table.
The Fall Festival for Families with Children with Special Needs will be on Oct. 2 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and will again include picking pumpkins from the pumpkin patch, family-friendly games, and a small petting zoo. Everyone gets pumpkin decorating kits and prizes.