Smile Farms Story

February 18, 2016

Smile Farms Logo

As a member of the 1-800-Flowers.com® family since 2001, 1-800-Baskets.com® is proud to share the inspiring story of Smile Farms Inc., a new non-profit organization dedicated to providing meaningful work opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities. 

Smile Farms Group Picture

As a corporate sponsor of Smile Farms, 1-800-Flowers.com® provides the charity with support in many ways, including donations, volunteers, business mentorship, cause marketing campaigns and most importantly — spreading the message.

Currently located on Long Island, New York, with the help of citizens, corporations and government entities, they have ambitious plans to expand and create a network of farms across the United States.

Fifteen years ago, Jim McCann, Founder, CEO and Chairman of 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc. and Chris McCann, President of 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc. helped build a greenhouse—this may seem like an ordinary task, but it was far from it—you see it wasn’t just building a greenhouse, in doing so they afforded developmentally disabled adults with an opportunity to become an intricate part of their community, delivered a safe, nurturing location for socialization, and provided jobs to a well deserving and inspiring population.  

It all started with a phone call from the Founder & CEO of the group home where their brother Kevin lives. The home was having difficulty finding local jobs for all of their residents, and they were hoping the McCann’s could leverage their business relationships to help with such placement. Knowing first-hand the importance of integrating developmentally disabled adults into a community structure, and a little something about flowers, they sprang into action and personally funded a year-round greenhouse operation to create those jobs.  

Smile Farms

From its peaceful nook on the east end of Long Island, the Flower Barn was born, and quickly became an enrichment epicenter for developmentally disabled adults who age out of traditional educational programs at twenty-one years old.  Year after year, Kevin and his housemates have grown flowers and plants that were sold to local florists and communities—providing them with a steady salary, lasting social ties and an unmistakable sense of pride.

Smile Farms   

The families of these new found gardeners quickly saw positive changes in their demeanor, and it became clear to everyone that the Flower Barn was filling a huge gap in social services for these important members of our communities. As word spread of the Barn’s success, Jim and Chris started getting calls from families across the country about expanding and assisting the group homes in their respective areas. The seed was planted, brainstorming began and the concept of teaming up their business knowledge with this humanitarian cause took shape.  

The McCann family has an innate belief that as citizens, neighbors, coworkers and friends, we should make a difference in the communities in which we work and live. More importantly they are passionate about delivering SMILES. So in April of 2014, the McCann family created Smile Farms, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting developmentally disabled adults by building fully operational, self-sustaining greenhouses that provide meaningful work, social interaction and immersion in their communities across the country.

On September 18, 2015 the Flower Barn became the first Smile Farms– Smile Farms at IGHL, and the goal is to replicate this innovative model to create an additional 5 farms over the next 5 years— spreading smiles one job a time.

Read more about Smile Farms and how you can get involved:  http://www.smilefarms.org/

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