KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- There are very few community resources for adults with autism, but a farm in Kalamazoo is trying to change that. AACORN Farm has a day program for adults with autism, but they hope to become much more than just an 8 to 5 place.
“The dream is the community," explains AACORN director Elizabeth Farner, "The eventual hope for AACORN is to have an agricultural community where there is also a residential component.”
But until they raise the funds and purchase new, larger property, participants come to the farm either in the morning or the afternoon. One of those farmers is Michael Joque.
“In the summer we work in the garden and we make our own pesto sauce from our basil that we grow," Joque said.
Joque has been coming to AACORN farm since it started up about three years ago. Since then he's learned to garden, care for animals and cook.
“Usually I don’t cook at home," Joque tells FOX 17. "That’s why I like coming here so much, because we do so much cooking here."
While Joque and his fellow farmers enjoy their work, it serves a greater purpose.
“It provides a life and community, it gives purpose. The animals really aren’t going to be fed if the farmers don’t come and feed them," Farner said. "They know that it needs to happen. And that gives people a sense of purpose when a lot of times they don’t have one.”