How a Struggling Rose Farm Was Saved by Young People with Autism
Shakespeare said in Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” In the case of the roses in this perfume, the flowers are the sweetest in the world. Tom Pinchbeck’s greenhouses in Guilford, Connecticut grow roses all year long and help people on the autism spectrum earn a living at the same time, and this unique program launched a fragrance that can take the nonprofit to the next level.
Roses for Autism
The scent is called Ardent Rose, and 14 interns, all of whom have some form of autism, cut the roses that go into the bottles of perfume. Roses for Autism wants to bottle the scents that people enjoy when they buy fresh flowers from the farm. The proceeds from this nonperishable version of Pinchbeck’s roses fund the Roses for Autism program, a vital link for people on the spectrum.
What This Initiative Does
Roses for Autism helps people on the spectrum learn job-related skills. The program provides training and employment opportunities for teens and adults on the autism spectrum. Employees assist with marketing, customer service, filling orders, website maintenance, and shipping. In the greenhouse, employees grow, cut, and package roses. Participants create artful arrangements for any occasion. Pinchbeck, who leases the land and serves as lead grower, calls Roses for Autism a stepping stone to greater opportunities for the people who work at the farm.
Since the program started in 2009, more than 100 people have learned valuable skills needed to help run a business. The idea started with Pinchbeck’s old friend, Jim Lyman, who wanted his son to learn job training in a safe environment. Lyman and Pinchbeck both approached a local autism awareness charity to set up a vocational training center for people on the spectrum.
Lyman’s idea saved the famous Pinchbeck Rose farm, a staple of the area since 1929, after the farm closed in 2008; South American rose producers had put Pinchbeck’s farm out of business after 79 years. Flowers and perfume from Roses for Autism smell the sweetest of any roses, not only because of the dozens of people who learned vital work-related skills, but also because it saved one family’s business.