The picturesque roses grown at Pinchbeck Farm for Roses for Autism will make their debut-and a huge statement-at the sixth annual World Focus on Autism event in New York City on Thursday,
The stunning rose displays will be viewed by hosts Suzanne and Bob Wright, co-founders of Autism Speaks, and Mrs. Bon Soon-taek, spouse of the United Nations secretary general. In addition, first spouses and dignitaries from countries around the world will be in attendance at the important event put on by Autism Speaks and designed to promote autism awareness and highlight autism as a global public health issue.
To date, according to the Roses for Autism website, one in every 88 children in the United States is born with autism and one in every 54 boys-scary numbers for a disorder that is not fully understood by many.
In an effort to garner more awareness of this disorder, each year Autism Speaks holds this international event to answer questions and get the word out about new research. The hope is that in the future the whole world will understand this disorder more fully and every country will mark World Autism Awareness Day, which is April 2 every year.
Roses for Autism Retail Operations Manager Lori Gregan, who got the centerpieces ready for the event with the help of many employees, found out about the honor of providing the roses for this prestigious gathering just last Thursday.
"I can't believe our little rose farm from Guilford has been asked to be part of such a huge event," said Gregan, stunned by the request. "This is such a wonderful honor."
When Roses for Autism first started about five years ago, Autism Speaks gave a large donation to the non-profit to help offset some of the costs of the program, which primarily employs adults living on the autism spectrum. Roses for Autism describes itself on its website as a "social enterprise that facilitates the thoughtful transition of individuals with autism to meaningful employment and personal success."
It goes onto to state, "We grow and sell roses in an integrated community with individuals on the autism spectrum. Employees, like roses, blossom when given proper training and support."
The farm grows 16 varieties of roses, three varieties of ornamental lilies, and an array of colorful gerbera daisies.
"It's very fitting that our little farm with a big mission is part of an event with an equally big mission," said Gregan.
At press time, she planned to deliver the roses the night before the event to ensure that there were no traffic delays or unforeseen circumstances that would threaten the delivery.
"When I was on the phone with the women who asked us to be part of all this, I was focusing on the logistics of getting the order ready and delivered. It wasn't until I was off the phone and in the car that I realized what we had just been asked to be a part of and I thought to myself, 'Wow, this is huge!'"
She added, "I am so pleased that so many people believe in us and what we do here."
On a daily basis, Roses for Autism grows, cuts, and packages flowers for retail and wholesale outlets in the largest heated greenhouse in America, which is housed on the 38 acres of the historic Pinchbeck Farm. Next year the farm is looking to produce more than one million roses.
In the past, the business has provided flowers for several Autism Speaks events, as well as weddings, University of Connecticut events, Choate events, and online deliveries throughout the country.
"We all work very hard here and we work together to put out a beautiful product that is enjoyed by everyone. If you haven't come to visit us yet, you should," said Gregan.
Roses for Autism is open six days a week. For more information, call 203-453-2186 or visit Roses for Autism on Facebook or at www.rosesforautism.com.