One of the biggest benefits of partnering with communities across the country is having the chance to get to know the individuals and organizations that are committed to making a real difference. That’s why we’re so proud to feature Dutton Farm, a mission-driven program that has been inspiring countless individuals in our partnering community Rochester Hills—their story has really impressed us here at Recyclebank.
Amber Joseph, the Marketing and Public Relations Director of Dutton Farm, was kind enough to chat with us and answer a few questions about the history of their organization, their commitment to sustainability, and how we can all support the great work that they’re doing.
We invite you to read on and celebrate the great work that our friends in Rochester Hills are doing.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about how Dutton Farm first got started, and what the organization’s mission is?
Dutton Farm was started by a mother and daughter in 2010. Jenny Brown has a sister with Down Syndrome, Becca. Post-secondary, Jenny was in law school and seamlessly transitioning into life while Becca was left behind. Jenny dropped out of law school and alongside her mom began Dutton Farm. They initially wanted to give Becca and her friends a meaningful place to go to every day and we grew from there. Today we have over 80 participants (we call them farmers) in our adult education, community involvement and workforce development programs. Dutton Farm’s mission is to empower and support adults with special needs to live a life of purpose, inclusion and dignity.
2. How important is sustainability to Dutton Farm, and what sort of practices does the organization put in place to either cut down on waste and/or promote environmental stewardship?
Our entire program is huge into recycling, reusing and cutting down on waste! We love having recycling as an activity of the program. During the week, the farmers collect and sort all the recycling on the farm and then community involvement takes it to the recycling center once a week. We work on teaching all the farmers what needs to be recycled and how it helps our planet and community. We are also big into gardening and farming. During the summer, we grow produce and use that in our cooking curriculum. They also learn about beekeeping with a volunteer beekeeper and how that helps our environment. In our market, we use as little plastic as possible and make sure whatever we do use in recyclable. We also use natural and sustainable ingredients as much as possible.
3. Are there any ways for your neighbors in Rochester Hills to get involved and support the mission of Dutton Farm? If so, what would you like them to know?
There are numerous ways to support us. They can support our social enterprise Everybody by Dutton Farm which is a line of fully handmade bath and body products. We employ our farmers to make the products and all the profits go to support Dutton Farm. They can find our products on everybodyinc.com. They can also attend one of our events and the information for that can be found on duttonfarm.org. And we always appreciate any donations that can be made a duttonfarm.org as well.
4. Are there any upcoming events, or dates in the Spring, that you would like your neighbors to be aware of?
On March 6th, our new brand Everybody by Dutton Farm is having a launch party at Detroit Shipping Company. More details can be found on Facebook.
On April 15th, we are hosting a Diversity and Inclusion event at Rochester University. Ticket info can be found on Duttonfarm.org.
5. Are there any additional success stories that you would like to share (can be about sustainability, environmental stewardship, or any other themes)?
Recently one of our farmers, Jacob, was recognized in Michigan State University’s Extension Master Gardener program for his involvement and passion for gardening. We were so excited for him!