BOONE COUNTY, Ind. – A husband and wife in Zionsville are farming to make a difference.
Janice and David Agarwal have created an environment tailored to serve high functioning, disabled adults.
“We wanted to start a pilot program to show that it could work,” said Janie Agarwal. “One in six kids now born have some sort of disability. That’s a staggering statistic. Where do all of these kids go?
The Agarwal’s founded Watch Us Farm. The non-profit gives adults the chance to learn while building friendships and life-long skills. It’s also a job; the adults get paid at least minimum wage for their hard work.
Whether they’re out in the garden, taking care of the chickens, horses, and piglets, or weaving unique and colorful scarves rugs and table runners to be sold.
The Agarwal’s son, Alex, not only inspired the work on this farm, but considers himself the “rug guy!”
“It all depends on how thick the fabric is,” he told us when talking about what it takes to create one the rugs.
Alex’s parents wanted to create a safe place for him, and people like him. He’s proud of his hard work, but it’s also about the friendships on the farm.
Emily Pantzer started working here three years ago.
“At first I was like; I just can’t do this, and I thought I was going to give up,” Pantzer said.
The support she received pushed her to keep going. She’s now helping the other adults on the farm.
“It’s just amazing how well I have done and how much I have overcome,” she added.
This motivates the Agarwal’s to keep investing, in hopes of expanding the farm and their services.
They say the need is there. Right now, 15 adults with disabilities are waiting to come help.
“The reason I do this is that change,” said Agarwal, “That’s when I hear the parents go, oh, you can’t believe she’s like this now all of the time. When I hear a parent come up to me in tears – for the first time in 30 years I have hope for my daughter.”
It’s Agarwal’s hope is that these adults can find success and value on the farm.
“We change the minds of how people think,” Agarwal added, “This is never going to be normal; we are never going to be normal, and that’s okay.”
Watch Us Farm is hosting a fundraising gala at the end of September. While the gala is at capacity, they are still looking for auction items and donations. To learn more about their efforts, click here.