LMB Farms – helping people grow and blossom

It’s a therapy place for inspiring development and purpose- at Live, Move, Be Farms.

Right now, LMB Farms is getting ready for the spring growing season, they have a cooperative agreement with Black Hills Works to use the greenhouses to grow pesticide and herbicide free produce. Last year Chef Scott at Regional Health R.C. Hospital bought much of the produce grown here, this will be the 2nd year for the growing.
They have a clinic with traditional type therapy and counseling but also saw a need for vocational support to people served. Their approach is relationship based – working with people with autism and neuro-developmental differences.

Craig Mullins, Licensed Professional Counselor at LMB Therapy and Farms, says, “To the people that come here … it’s exciting to take a seed, to plant it, to water it, to watch it grow, and then to take that plant and sell it. There is something fascinating about that.”

It’s teaching the workers about more than just horticultural- it’s a means of overcoming limitations and opportunities to learn about trial and error. Workers also learn to deal with conflict and get a hands-on approach to developing social skills.

Mullins says,“One of the things that stands out to us is that 90% of adults with a college education that have been diagnosed with autism are unemployed and to us – that’s just my mind blowing. One of the big reasons were doing this is community, as we go into it adulthood our friendships tend to be vocationally, so if you’re having a hard time being employed, you’re missing out on that community. And so it was really exciting to see them form friendships with each other and to do things outside of the green houses.”

Volunteer Jay Hodgens said it best with his analogy: just like autism is a spectrum disorder, so is the spectrum of people who work in the greenhouses- it’s all about the experience. Hodgens, the greenhouse operations manager expands, “The relationships that have evolved over the past nine months with volunteers and workers has been very rewarding. And I think I can see benefits that others have realized. I know I have benefited from the environment and working with people.”

Their vision is to expand their business to a property off of Highway 44- with a supportive living situation and also envisioned a therapeutic retreat center complete with farm animals. They are also working to secure funding for job coaches.

It’s only with the support of the community with donations and volunteer work that makes the efforts a success, with more understanding and communication.

Hodgens says, “Of course the definition of autism has changed in the past six years, when I grew up autism intrinsically meant someone who had very limited abilities and need to constant care giving … so education is very important, not just for the families for those who have people with autism in them, but for employers in our community at large.”

Their goal this year is to produce 400 heads of lettuce a week.

They would also like to thank their many donors, including Hebron Brick Co., Black Hills Works, Simon Contractor Co., Pete Lien & Sons, Black Hills Electric Cooperative, and Pressure Services Inc.

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