Six miles from the UNC Chapel Hill campus, The Farm at Penny Lane, part of the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health sits on a 40- acre property in Pittsboro, N.C. Plans are underway to develop the property as a respite with therapy programs and activities for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. Activities will include walking trails, art and music studio, and eventually housing.
The Center is currently collaborating with North Carolina Botanical Gardens at UNC to develop a horticulture therapy program and community garden. Staff and volunteers broke ground and planted a community garden in the fall of 2012. Beehives, a green house, aquaponics and shitake mushrooms have been added.
The Community Garden is the center of a developing horticulture therapy program. A trained horticulture therapists guides patients/clients through recovery. Participants in the program learn about gardening, nutrition and how to prepare healthy food. Gardening also provides the opportunity for socializing and exercising.