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The Farm at Penny Lane Greenhouse
The Farm at Penny Lane Greenhouse

Hope Grows Here

Six miles from the UNC Chapel Hill campus, the UNC Farm at Penny Lane sits on a nearly 40-acre property, UNC Penny Lane Campus, in Pittsboro, N.C. The property is being developed as a respite with therapeutic programs and activities for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. The Farm at Penny Lane Video

Staff and volunteers broke ground and planted a community garden in the fall of 2012. The farm also include: a greenhouse, a high tunnel, a flock of heritage-breed chickens, and a walking trail.

Most of the food grown at the farm is provided to individuals receiving services through the Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health.

Participants in most Penny Lane programs are limited to Center clients, with referrals made by Center clinicians.

Farm Tours

Tour the farm on Thursday afternoons. Please contact the Farm Program Manager, Matt Ballard to schedule a visit or call 919-445-0665.


For additional program information, contact: Farm Program Manager Matt Ballard, Operations Director Thava Mahadevan, or Media contact: Alice Lockhart, Director of Communications


Current Programs

Horticultural Therapy

Horticultural therapy focuses on whole person health. Through working with plants, a client can improve:physical health through activity, fresh air and nutrition from the garden; emotional health through creative expression, caring for plants and productive work; and social health through sharing, working together and building inclusive community.

Programs are offered year round and organized around a seasonal schedule, with 10-12 individual sessions comprising each seasonal program. Contact us to see when groups are opening or if they’re closed for the season.

Mondays, 10 AM – 12 PM

Clinical Referral & Application, plus pre-class Tour with Instructor Required


PAWS (Peer Assisted Wellness Support)

UNC PAWS is an innovative community-based recovery and rehabilitation program that uses non- traditional interventions to assist individuals living with psychiatric disabilities, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and post-traumatic stress. Clients from the UNC Center of Excellence in Community Health trained shelter dogs in performing basic obedience skills, with dogs ultimately being placed in forever homes.


Wellness Wednesday

A collection of weekly group-based activities focused around promoting overall health and well-being for adults living with mental health conditions who are served by the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health. Activities include affordable cooking, developing social wellness skills and yoga.

Clinical Referral & Application, plus pre-class Tour with Instructor Required

Check out our facebook events page for current session information.


Wellness on Wheels Mobile Clinic (Open to the Public)

In partnership with UNC School of Nursing and the Foundation of Hope, this mobile clinic provides free wellness checks every Tuesday at are participating locations. Services provided include: sick care, blood pressure checks, mental health screenings, diabetes assessments and more.

Location 1: Dorcas Ministries every every Tuesday and 1st and 3rd Saturday from 10am – 2pm

Location 2: Western Wake Crisis Ministry every 2nd and 4th Tuesday from 11am – 2pm.


Cora Food Pantry (Open to the Public)

Approximately 14% of the population in Chatham County live at or below the poverty level ($24,600/year for a family of 4). The CECMH’s Farm at Penny Lane has partnered with CORA (Chatham Outreach Alliance) to help meet food insecurity needs for families making $49,200/year for a family of four. CORA operates under USDA Food and Nutrition Services Eligibility Guidelines.

Every 2nd Tuesday of the Month from 10:00am-12:00pm
Every 4th Tuesday of the Month from 5:30pm – 7:00pm


Community Yoga Group (Open to the Public)

This group focuses on using yoga therapy techniques to promote wellness and reconnect the mind and body. Sessions may include gentle stretching and twisting, yoga asanas (postures), breathing techniques and guided imagery. The instructor emphasizes listening to yourself, making your own choices and feeling empowered.

Fridays, 2 – 3 PM


Tiny House Community

In partnership with the UNC School of Social Work, the Tiny Homes Village is a demonstration project that is aimed at developing a new affordable housing option for people with mental illness and other health conditions living on a fixed income. The village will include 15 tiny homes. Each tiny home will be about 400 square ft and each will be built on a permanent foundation. Veterans with chronic health conditions will be given priority for 5 of the village’s 15 homes. (Construction in progress)