ServiceNet’s Prospect Meadow Farm Expands to Pittsfield, Creates Opportunities for Vocational Growth
ServiceNet, a leading nonprofit mental health and human services agency serving western Massachusetts, recently acquired Jodi’s Seasonal in Pittsfield. This popular flower farm, which covers 16 acres and includes several year-round greenhouses, will be the newest site for ServiceNet’s Prospect Meadow Farm.
Part of ServiceNet’s Developmental and Brain Injury Services (DBIS) division, Prospect Meadow Farm is a therapeutic vocational training program that provides meaningful employment and daily activities for individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism, many of whom also have mental health challenges. ServiceNet opened the first Prospect Meadow Farm location in Hatfield in 2011, which now employs 80+ participants who raise market crops and care for animals on two chemical-free farm sites totaling 18 acres. Through the program, participants contribute to the rich agricultural life of the area, receive a fair wage, and find support for their personal and professional growth.
In 2023, the Hatfield farm embarked on a significant renovation project, supported by a $600,000 grant from the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development plus private fundraising. Renovations included a new commercial kitchen and carpentry workshop, which further expanded the program’s vocational offerings.
“We’ve seen how beneficial it is for people to work outdoors, interact with animals, and witness the direct results of their efforts,” said Sue Stubbs, CEO of ServiceNet, whose vision for a therapeutic farming program fueled the agency’s search for Prospect Meadow’s first location, “and we are so excited to now offer these opportunities in Pittsfield.”
Creation of Prospect Meadow Farm’s newest site extends the program’s reach to Berkshire County participants, in collaboration with ServiceNet’s Berkshire Vocational Services. The farm’s leadership also hopes to work with local school districts and the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to offer programming for qualifying students on Individualized Education Program (IEP) plans. Like the Hatfield location, Pittsfield’s Prospect Meadow Farm will offer diverse opportunities such as animal care, agricultural production, and Shiitake mushroom cultivation. Eventually, the plan is to also offer culinary training and more.
“We’re thrilled to bring the success of Prospect Meadow Farm to Pittsfield and are immensely grateful to Jodi’s former owners and to the City for this opportunity,” said Shawn Robinson, Vice President of Vocational Services for ServiceNet. “This new chapter embodies our commitment to expanding a proven model, creating new possibilities, and fostering growth in this vibrant community.”
Robinson helped establish Prospect Meadow Farm in 2011. He was recognized in 2023 as the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Person of the Year and he received the Black Excellence on the Hill Award from the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus.
For more information, or to inquire about program referrals, please contact Robinson at [email protected].