Smile Farms opens newest location
Catholic Health and Smile Farms partnered to create a cooperative garden that will offer employment opportunities for individuals in Catholic Health’s behavioral health outpatient programs at Mercy Hospital. The newest of Smile Farm’s location campuses celebrating its grand opening on May 2.
The cooperative garden, located on Stewart Avenue in Garden City, will support Catholic Health’s Food Insecurity Initiative by providing fresh food to patients who are identified as food insecure at the Mercy Hospital Family Care Center. Employees of the garden will be patients primarily in the program, but not limited to this program.
Smile Farms was founded in 2015 by brothers Jim and Chris McCann of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM Inc. in response to the success their brother, Kevin, had in a similar outpatient farming program.
Jim McCann, of Manhasset, is a successful entrepreneur, business leader, author, media personality and philanthropist whose passion is helping people deliver smiles. Jim’s belief in the universal need for social connections and interaction led to his founding of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc., which he has grown into one of the world’s leading floral and gourmet gifting companies.
Jim’s willingness to embrace new technologies that enhance customer engagement, such as 800 phone numbers and e-commerce, often long before other retailers, has consistently kept 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. ahead of the curve and positioned it as a leading innovator in the marketplace. These innovations have played a vital role in strengthening customer engagement, something that has always been a key element of Jim’s business philosophy.
Jim’s strategy for growth has included an effective combination of birthing and acquiring new businesses and brands that resonate with customers for their gifting and celebratory occasions. The company’s gift offerings include iconic brands such as Harry & David, Wolferman’s Bakery, Cheryl’s Cookies and The Popcorn Factory, as well as Simply Chocolate and 1-800-Baskets.com, among others.
Jim is also deeply involved in philanthropy and is especially devoted to helping individuals with developmental disabilities. This includes his continued work as Founder and Chairman of Smile Farms, a nonprofit organization established in 2015. Smile Farms provides meaningful jobs in agricultural settings to young adults and adults with developmental disabilities, allowing them to master new skills, experience teamwork, contribute to their community and, importantly, take home a paycheck. As a result, Jim was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Long Island Business News 2019 Corporate Citizenship Awards.
In 2018, Jim established Clarim Holdings, a private holding company that expands market opportunities for clients by providing capital along with an extensive network of high-tier support partners. Jim also serves as a director for Amyris and International Game Technology PLC, as well as a variety of private and not-for-profit boards.
Each Smile Farms campus is a revenue-generating business that can use the funds earned to support its participants’ employment and its mission. Smile Farms works closely with its partners to devise site-specific farming and marketing plans that maximize profitability. It helps fund start-up costs and provides ongoing financial support to the campus based on the number of people employed. Smile Farms plants, flowers, and fresh produce are sold in a variety of venues in the communities where campuses are located; are used in partner organizations’ kitchens; and are donated to local nonprofits serving people who are in need.
The flagship partnership was with Independent Group Home Living (IGHL), converting the former “Flower Barn” into “Smile Farms at IGHL.” Smile Farms partners with seven nonprofit partners at 12 campuses. Nonprofits include Family Residences and Essential Enterprises (FREE), The Viscardi Center, League Education and Treatment Center (LETC), Constructive Partnerships Unlimited, Nassau BOCES, and Riverpark Farm (under construction). Smile Farms partners with Brooklyn Grange to help plan and manage their campuses.
The mission of Smile Farms is to create meaningful work opportunities for people with disabilities in agriculture and hospitality. Their work generates purpose and pride, enhances life skills, and fosters socialization. Smile Farms is shaping a better future where people with special needs are valued for the real contributions they make in their workplaces and communities.
Visit www.smilefarms.org to learn more.
Visit www.longislandweekly.com/smile-farms-moriches to hear more about Smile Farms in our exclusive chat with McCann.