Elon promotes an eco-friendly environment on its campus and the surrounding community. Peacehaven Community Farm, a sustainable farm only 15 minutes away from campus, makes an impact in another way. The farm also houses adults with special needs.
Racing and rushing is engraved in our daily lives, but at Peacehaven Community Farm it's all about being mindful. Volunteer coordinator Sara Gray said you can feel it when you're there.
"At Peacehaven, I think we are about being present as to what is happening at the moment, at that time, and that's an incredible gift," Gray said.
The word community in its name not only refers to the 89 acres of sustainable farmland where volunteers come to work, but also to the affordable housing community for adults with special needs. Executive Director and founder Buck Cochran said that it's all about learning.
"We really think of our core members as being our teachers, folks with disabilities who are able to teach us a lot about our lives," Cochran said. "So being able to work with them, live with them, grow food together is really a chance for all of us to learn and grow together."
At Peachaven there is a house that sits on top of a hill, which is home to the four core members with special needs and three caregivers. The group moved in this December, once the home was finished being built. Molly Barker said that she has loved living there so far.
"I have people I love and family I love," Barker said.
The home was named "Susan's View" after Susan Elliot. Elliot was one of the founders along with her husband and Buck Cochran and his wife. Susan died from breast cancer in 2009. As the parents of children with special needs, their goal was to create a place where special needs adults could live a normal life.
"We named it Susan's view in thinking that it's Susan's view of all of us continuing to work together," Cochran said.
While only one home currently sits on the farm, Cochran said that plans for the future include building a small neighborhood of homes.
"Not only are the core members nourished by the hands and the hearts that show up to be a part of Peacehaven, but I think it would be challenging, difficult, for someone to walk onto this farm and leave unchanged," Gray said.
Along with living and working on the farm, Peacehaven also helps its core members find jobs and get involved in the local community.