Farm at Penny Lane
The UNC Farm at Penny Lane, located on 40 acres in northern Chatham County, uses a holistic and sustainable approach to enhance the quality of life of individuals with severe and persistent mental illness by offering opportunities to become healthier and more self-sufficient. Therapeutic actives take place at the Farm, which consists of a large growing area, heritage-breed chickens, beehives, a learning kitchen and a walking trail. We use organize practices to grow our crops; community volunteers, clients with serious mental illness and staff cultivate the garden.
Recovery and Rehabilitation Programs
Recovery-oriented programs include a list of complimentary approaches to traditional therapy and medicine: horticultural and other nature-based therapies, yoga, movement and breathing, expressive arts, music and healthy cooking. Therapeutic skills groups focused on symptom and self-management are also offered, but in a non-clinical setting with a therapeutic garden as the backdrop. The Farm strives to find facilitators with their own lived experience in recovery as peers to offer the various groups and classes.
These programs provide ample opportunities for meaningful social engagement that are important to mental health recovery. Lessening stigma and allowing clients to feel less isolated, willing to maintain their connections with other people, and capture the experiences in their lives that are most meaningful to them. The UNC Farm at Penny Lane aims to be a place of positive reciprocity and show that the path of recovery is a hopeful one.
Ever wondered what goes on in the greenhouse or what the inside of the Tiny House looks like? Enjoy a personally guided tour of the Farm at Penny Lane Complex to find out! Tours of the Farm are available on Thursday afternoons.
Community Farm Days
Volunteer assistance is critical to the success of the Farm. On work days, we meet as a community to tend to the current needs of the Farm: planting, watering, weeding, mulching, harvesting, trail maintenance, and special projects. There is no distinction made between those with or without mental health diagnosis.
To visit the Farm and/or volunteer: contact the Farm Program Manager, Matt Ballard.
Your donations support the creative alternative recovery programs. These programs include group therapies such as Horticultural Therapy, Brushes with Life, and Wellness Wednesday. As well as community programs such as the CORA Food Pantry, Wellness on Wheels Mobile Clinic and Tiny Home Village.