Madison Fields is a project of Madison House Autism Foundation, a national 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization based in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The foundation was created in 2007 to address the lifespan challenges facing adults with autism.
Madison Fields offers an exciting opportunity to model what is possible when we as a community empower people of all abilities to participate and contribute. At Madison Fields, we recognize the strength in a diverse, inclusive community working together to help one another achieve their greatest potential. It is our feeling that we all grow best when we are growing together.
We are a premiere community-based agricultural resource center where people of all ability can access opportunities for job readiness training, education, recreation and healing. We are committed to providing a safe, welcoming environment where visitors can reconnect with themselves, one another, and the natural world.
Please join with us in inviting those who are often found at the edges of society due to their perceived physical and/or cognitive differences back into the heart of our shared life. We cannot realize our vision without community participation and support.
WHY WE STARTED
When children with autism grow up, they age out of federally mandated accommodations administered through the public school system. Without viable options that provide sufficient support in adulthood, many find few opportunities for continued growth, learning, and participation in community that would enable them to achieve their greatest potential.
We know that adults with autism can achieve greater independence and overall well-being when they are provided with the right support. We also recognize that these adults represent a unique reservoir of untapped ability that can add value to all of our lives when we take the time to understand and utilize the special interests, skills, and views of the world they hold. Diversity and inclusion is what makes life beautiful. All of us have something special to contribute.
Our goal is to model for the country what can be accomplished when we recognize the ability and potential within all members of our community, honor their inherent worth and dignity, and allow them the space to participate.
WHAT WE DO
We are creating a new, regenerative model of community that will breathe new vitality into the surrounding area as we invite all members into full participation. We work to make agricultural opportunities available to everyone regardless of economic, social, or physical/mental limitations so that undervalued segments of our society are seen as vital contributors. In effort to accomplish this:
- We create an environment that is safe, friendly, and accessible for people of all ability to be able to experience the therapeutic sensory-rich farmscape and find increased self-esteem, independence and connection.
- We create job readiness and volunteer opportunities rooted in agriculture for the training and reintegration of marginalized populations into the workforce.
- We create programs focused on rehabilitation, education, community engagement, life-skill development, and respite.
- We provide opportunities for recreation in which members of the greater community can engage with a neurodiverse population.
- We offer agricultural education for local schools and organizations in order to foster a greater understanding for our vital role as stewards of the natural world.
- We are pioneering the development of a neurodiverse agrihood wherein residents with unique needs are valued, accepted, and supported in fellowship with other community members.
WHO WE SERVE
At Madison Fields, we want to foster an environment where all feel welcome and included and have the opportunity to interface with neighbors they may not otherwise have a chance to meet and know. A variety of different people in the community take advantage of our unique offerings. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Adults and children with autism or other intellectual or developmental disabilities
- Wounded war veterans
- The elderly
- Local artists and thought leaders
- Cause-driven organizations
- Local community members
Madison Fields sits on 400-acres of beautiful farmland in the Agricultural Reserve of Montgomery County, Maryland in the small community of Dickerson. Situated just 30 miles from Washington D.C., it provides easy access to a peaceful, natural environment for city-dwellers and visitors from around the world. It is important to note that although the equity of this beautiful property was gifted to Madison House Autism Foundation for the development of Madison Fields, it also came with the burden of a mortgage. The success of our vision and breadth of our reach is directly dependent on support from the community. The land features:
- A fish pond and dock
- Miles of forest trails
- Horse pastures
- Crop fields
- 10 designated housing lots (for future neurodiverse housing)
- A perennial stream
- Easy access to the Potomac river
The property also includes several existing buildings with future plans for additional purposefully built structures depending on the success we have in raising capital.
Current uses include retreats, events, short-term guests, and thought leadership.
Big Woods Home
A pilot home for future residents with special needs.
A multi-use main-floor complete with an outdoor pool and a private basement residential unit.
Private residencies for on-site Madison Fields employees.
An upstairs multi-use space for special events.
Madison Fields offices, indoor/outdoor riding arenas, horse boarding
A wood and mechanic shop and storage facility.
Home for our family of chickens.
Located 10 miles down the road en route to Frederick. Currently, home to local antique vendors who’s sales support Madison Fields. Future plans include selling farm-grown produce and farm-made goods.