– by Jennifer Elkhouri
How does a hair salon, a non-profit that serves the adult autistic community and a solar powered ventilation system even go in the same sentence? It almost sounds like one of those, “a duck enters a bar jokes,” right?
We were introduced to Legacy Farms in 2015 after hearing about their agrarian-based job skills training program they were offering for our local adult autistic community. We really liked what Legacy Farms was doing and selected them as our July 2015 Community Outreach Partner. This year, Legacy Farms has a special project they’ve asked us to help with, and we are super excited to help!
Legacy Farms is a nonprofit, green care venture providing employment support services and agrarian based vocational training to adults with autism and other developmental and social challenges. In short, Legacy Farms teaches people with disabilities the skills they need for entry level positions in Northern Virginia’s agribusiness and agritourism industries, then connects them with local employers in need of help.
Over the last two years, the Legacy Farms Summer Garden Project has been responsible for placing over a half a dozen individuals with autism at Sunset Hills Vineyard, Tarara Winery, and A Farm Less Ordinary. This year, Legacy Farms is expanding their services to provide year-round programs, beginning with their new greenhouse. Legacy Farms donates 60% of their food to Loudoun Hunger Relief and other local organizations in need; providing year-round growing opportunities is vital to keeping food flowing to those in need and will provide year-round training to our local adult autistic community.
Many of the participants in the Summer Garden Project have sensory sensitivities — extreme heat and cold can deter them from learning and cause anxiety. And, a greenhouse can get REALLY hot in the Summer. Another challenge Legacy Farms was trying to solve is to ensure their fruits and vegetables flower so that they will produce. Many plants will not flower at temperatures over 85 degrees. Legacy Farms was looking for a way to keep their participants cool and anxiety-free and at the same time, keep the program as green as possible. After extensive research, Legacy Farms decided on a Monticello Solar Powered Ventilation System for the greenhouse. The commercial fan, exhaust louvers and thermostat are all made in the USA. The unit’s capability can produce more than 2 times the needed power to operate the fan at 100%, which allows for future expansion of needed greenhouse options such as lighting and heating.
And here’s where a hair salon, a non-profit and a solar powered ventilation system meet. We are looking to raise $1400 so Legacy Farms can purchase this essential system for their program. We will be donating $1 from every haircut in April to meet the goal which will get us about half way there, but we need YOUR help to reach $1400! You have the opportunity to add a donation at checkout on your visit in April, or you may donate now via the button below: