An Organic Greenhouse Run by Farmers With Autism

This crowd-sourced project in Indiana is seeing an outpouring of support.
Green Bridge Growers

Chris Tidmarsh graduated from Hope College with a degree in chemistry and environmental studies. He got a job in environmental research but lost it shortly after and moved back home.

"Clearly, he needed a different path to apply his talents in the world of work," said his mother Jan Pilarski. Chris has autism.

"Nearly all of his peers with autism were chronically unemployed despite having post-secondary degrees," Pilarski wrote recently. "Our world seemed small and bleak. I didn't have much hope to change the minds of potential employers to help Chris get a job. On the other hand, I saw an opportunity to be entrepreneurial about the staggering 90 percent unemployment rate confronting people with autism." 

Tidmarsh (Green Bridge Growers)

On top of his formal education, Chris had a long-standing interest in the science of farming. So Pilarski, of South Bend, Indiana, started a prototype aquaponic greenhouse and employed Chris and others on the autism spectrum. After the success of that prototype, they turned to the Internet last week to help them fund a commercial-scale version of the project. Each greenhouse, they say, will produce 45,000 pounds of vegetables every year and employ five young adults on the autism spectrum.

Their story:

In a matter of days Pilarski and Tidmarsh have seen support that already put them well past their $15,000 goal.

Presented by

James Hamblin, MD, is a senior editor at The Atlantic. He writes the health column for the monthly magazine and hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Health

Just In