The mission of Bittersweet, Inc. is to positively impact the lives of individuals with autism and those whose lives they touch.
The first farm model for adults with autism was established at Somerset Court in England in 1974. Bittersweet Farms was the first of its kind in the United States.
You may be wondering: What is unique or special about serving adults with autism on eighty acres of fields, gardens, and woods in a rural area of northwest Ohio?
Over the years, we have found that a farm setting offers rich, varied, and abundant opportunities for self-paced, distraction-free activities that are perceived as immediately meaningful by our participants. They are able to see the process of their work and are able to enjoy the product of their labor. This concrete reinforcement is a positive affirmation of their dignity and worth. Farming provides an opportunity for reciprocal partnership and community. It is a bucolic, secure, and safe environment in which individuals with challenging behaviors and limited social and communication skills can grow and develop to their fullest potential. All of our activities are designed to meet the wide range and abilities of persons from the entire spectrum of Autism Disorders. Such activities include:
- agriculture (including planting and harvesting)
- horticulture (including greenhouse operations)
- fencing & landscaping, construction, repair & maintenance
- produce collection & marketing
- animal feeding & care
- craft-making & woodworking
Those who live here develop a sense of husbandry, accomplishment, and ownership. It is their home. By happy coincidence, many of these same wholesome and holistic activities prove to be of great therapeutic value and contribute strongly to vocational training.