Each purchase from Three Meadows Farm is an investment in your health, your community, and the lives of people with autism.
From its beginnings as a family garden, Three Meadows Farm has grown into a fully operational farm, able to provide fresh produce and meats to the community through its farm stand and distribution to local restaurants.
“We are proud to nourish our community by providing growth opportunities to people with autism and fresh produce and meats that you can feel good about feeding your family.”
Under the ownership of the Rupert family, Three Meadows Farm fostered relationships with many people and businesses in the community. One of these relationships was a partnership with Somerset Hills Learning Institute, a non-profit treatment program for people with autism.
Through this partnership, older students were given the opportunity to experience a multitude of job readiness skills including woodworking, farming/gardening, greenhouse cultivation and more. Career training sets Somerset Hills Learning Institute apart from similar schools, as one of the few specialized programs in the nation working to impact the 86% unemployment rate (Roux et al., 2017) of adults with autism. With approximately half a million people with autism entering adulthood in the next decade (Roux et al., 2017) this type of program is crucial.
In 2016, Somerset Hills Learning Institute purchased the farm from the Rupert family. Three Meadows Farm now operates as one of a number of job-training sites for both the school program and the Institute’s Center for Career Advancement.
Three Meadows Farm functions as a social enterprise by serving as both a learning site for students and a job site for adults, who may have otherwise been unemployed. Additionally, the farm’s profits help fund the Center for Career Advancement’s efforts.
Our Social Enterprise
Our produce is allowed to ripen in the field and reach its full nutritional value before you buy it, which makes your meals healthier. Plus, transporting food long distances from field to store has a negative impact on the environment
Buying local gives you the opportunity to get to know your farmer and be truly informed about how your food is produced.
Sustainability is important to us. That’s why we grow sustainably, endeavor to leave a minimal imprint on the environment as possible, and sustain and advance the educational investment made in the students at Somerset Hills Learning Institute.
What is Hydroponic Farming?
Hydroponic farming allows us to grow our produce in a truly organic environment with no chemicals used to treat the plants. Simply put, hydroponics means growing plants in nutrient-rich water rather than soil. This process takes place inside of a hydroponic greenhouse, where we, as farmers, are able to have control of all of the factors affecting our crops through the use of a sealed environment. Produce grown in this way is not exposed to harsh and widely variable natural conditions, from weather and insects.
Additionally, hydroponic farming creates a minimal impact on the environment. Somewhat counter-intuitively, growing plants in water actually uses up to 95% less water than traditional growing, since water is not absorbed into the soil and can be replenished with nutrients and reused. Additionally, being able to create the perfect growing environment means products can be grown locally, even if they are not naturally indigenous to the area. Eliminating the need for long-distance transportation of crops helps reduce our carbon footprint. The resulting produce is as nutritious as traditionally grown products and is able to be grown year-round!
About Greenhouse Farming
Many of our crops begin in a traditional greenhouse nursery. In the greenhouse, we are able to create an ideal environment, with the ability to control ventilation, temperature, water, etc. Once the young plants are ready, we move them into a different kind of greenhouse called a hoop house, which is a less controlled environment but still offers crops protection from the elements. Because we can grow almost any kind of produce in this way, it allows us to meet customer demand by enabling the growth of in-demand products. Our produce is grown with organic fertilizer and without the use of pesticides.
1130 Burnt Mills Road, Bedminster, NJ 07921