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Farming with Friends

A New Nonprofit Based in Hinckley

Earlier this year, Farming with Friends, opened its 87-acre farm in Hinckley that employs people with disabilities. But the story behind this farm is more than initially meets the eye. Let's dive in.

The inception of the farm and nonprofit organization truly began in December 2019, when Farming with Friends executive director and co-founder Tristian Griffin's daughter, Scout, was diagnosed with Smith Magenis Syndrome — a developmental disorder that impacts learning processes, behavior and emotions. 

"It was a challenging time for my wife, Melanie, and me. For your entire life, you look at the world one way, and then all the sudden, you’re forced to look at it another way, from another perspective," Tristan said. “Over time, we knew in our heart of hearts that our new calling was to serve people with disabilities. In addition, we wanted to provide other typically-abled people with opportunities to get to know people with disabilities on a deeper level."

In the summer of 2021, the Griffins hosted a sports camp for people with disabilities that was wildly successful. But they knew that they wanted to do more, so they turned their sights towards farming. 

“In December 2022, I didn’t receive a promotion that I was sure I’d receive, and I asked my friend Brian Moore out for breakfast to chat about it. During this conversation, I casually shared with him my dream of a farm that employs people with disabilities. Unbeknownst to me, Brian and his wife, Alyssa, had just purchased a farm in Hinckley.”

From there, the dream blossomed into reality, and the Moores and the Griffins partnered to create Farming with Friends. As a starting point, the families came together to make a simple yet meaningful mission — "to restore God’s creation through regenerative farming, employment of people with disabilities and community engagement" — and the core values of home, dignity, together and play.

Currently, the farm is ramping up to open its storefront this spring. Tristan said that they plan to hire the store's first employee by February, and that the store will offer goods like chicken, beef, eggs and honey. In addition, the farm will host various events and festivals in the near future.

Are you interested in supporting Farming with Friends? Donate and learn how you can volunteer at FarmingWithFriends.org. On their website, you can also see more about the Griffin's story as well as updates about the storefront's opening. The farm is located at 1438 Center Rd., Hinckley. 

Farming with Friends' mission is to restore God’s creation through regenerative farming, employment of people with disabilities and community engagement.

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