Most great ideas are born from experience teaching us that there are service gaps to be recognized and needs to be filled. Farmsteads simmered and brewed for a number of years in the mind of founder Deborah DeScenza. Deborah is the mother of an adult child with significant special needs and has worked in the field of special education as a teacher, program coordinator, and consultant for over 20 years.
In the early 1990’s, while thinking about her son’s future, Deborah realized that he would not be a candidate for a competitive employment situation. The thought of him working in a traditional sheltered workshop, being coerced into doing work for which he could not understand the meaning, was intolerable to her. As she thought about the things he liked to do and the type of settings in which he was most comfortable, she decided that a farm would be the best fit for him. Because she did not want him to be isolated, she envisioned a farmstead that would serve the needs of several people with autism and other developmental disabilities.
In late 1999, she began working to make her dream become a reality. Farmsteads of New England, Inc. was formed as a nonprofit
corporation in the State of New Hampshire in 2000 and received tax-exempt status from the federal government in 2001. In 2003, FNE
purchased the Rosewald Farm in Hillsborough, NH and began providing services. In 2009, FNE started providing services at a second site at Verdant Pastures in Epping, NH.