Shattered by a weak economy, rising energy costs and a continuous avalanche of inexpensive, imported roses from South America, Pinchbeck Rose Growers of Guilford, Conn., was forced to close its doors in 2008. For Tom Pinchbeck, the third-generation owner of the farm, it marked the end of an era.
Pinchbeck was the last standing wholesale grower of cut roses in New England, operating the largest greenhouse under one roof—150,000 square feet—in the United States.
But last year, the 80-year-old rose farm got a new lease on life, reopening its doors with a new mission that goes far beyond just growing fresh-cut, fragrant roses.
Today, the farm is the home of Roses for Autism, an innovative nonprofit that provides job training and employment opportunities for people on the autism spectrum. Roses for Autism’s main goal is to give its employees the necessary skills to maintain meaningful employment so they can carry those skills with them when they eventually move on to different agricultural or farming jobs.