Farm Location: 39775 Alta Murrieta, Murrieta, CA 92563
Serving Our Special Needs Community
Cultivation Inclusion Farm is the brainchild of four dedicated women with special needs children. Julia Caron, Samantha Morton, Doreen Camerota and Laura Valencia are dynamic women who worked very hard to make this space what it is today. They built an environment for young adults with special needs that is focused on helping them develop practical skills in a garden setting.
In 2014, this 3-plus acre plot owned by the city became available. These women signed a lease with the City of Murrieta and started Cultivating Inclusion. The garden officially opened in the Fall of 2015.
As time passed, volunteers came and went, but one dedicated woman, Mary Ann Tams, stayed and took the lead as Garden Director after the founding members lives took them in different directions. The mother of four, the youngest with Down Syndrome, Mary Ann has been involved with the special needs community since 1997. After retiring from working for the State of California, she devoted herself to Cultivation Inclusion full time in 2015. The garden became a 501c3 non-profit in June of 2018. Mary Ann’s core group of volunteers help make this garden the success that it has become.
The garden consists of raised beds and in-ground rows suited for vegetable growing, as well as room for trees, flowers and native plants. There are two large orchards of various fruit trees.
Partnering with several organizations, the garden provides a safe environment for participants do meaningful work while acquiring skills that might help them find employment in farming or gardening occupations. The garden also provides space for horticultural therapy, and the food that is grown is donated to local food banks.
Mary Ann and Cultivating Inclusion hope to inspire more like-minded people to join the team and help grow the programs. Please send an email if you'd like to get involved or make a donation to this worthwhile organization.
Mary Ann Tams, Cultivating Inclusion Garden Director
Cultivating inclusion partners with, and is endorsed by, Care Rite Vocational and Towards Maximum Independence, day care programs for Special Needs Adults and is funded by the state of California.
Cultivating Inclusion currently works with four food banks and all the food grown at the farm is donated to them. These organizations include Western Eagle, Community Mission of Hope, Murrieta Food Bank and St. Vincent de Paul.
The garden is funded by donations and is always looking to raise funds for the programs it provides. In the past, there have been grant awards as well as donations from individuals, both large and small. It all helps!
Currently, the garden is exploring ways to involve more community members. The most recent event is a painting class in the garden, and there are plans for a succulent potting class using hollowed-out pumpkins in November.
Classes are meant to be fun and educational, and will raise funds for the garden and its programs.
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