FALLBROOK – Established in 2019, D'Vine Path Farm and Vineyards has been continuing to expand and educate a wide variety of neurodiverse individuals, while also providing a safe space for growth and self-realization. Based in agricultural tourism, D'Vine Path aims to educate students as well as the surrounding community.
Looking back on the year 2023, D'Vine Path made monumental steps and achieved many goals leading into the new year. From expanding the program to hosting multiple events to planting a new pomegranate farm, D'Vine Path has taken root in the new permanent location at 4735 Olive Hill Road.
In 2023, D'Vine Path was overwhelmed by the generosity of supporters in the community. After being "adopted" by North Coast Church through the "Service your City" program, D'Vine Path welcomed more than 200 volunteers in April to help repair and update the property.
North Coast Church also helped to build a 20' x 30' barn to be used as a place for educating the public about agriculture and agritourism in Fallbrook. Through grants and funding from the Rancho Santa Fe, Fallbrook Village and Fallbrook Rotary clubs, D'Vine Path began establishing a new goal, D'Vine Petal Flowers and Farm Stand, to sell produce and flowers grown by the students and staff.
Another new addition to D'Vine Path is the pomegranate orchard, planted and cared for by students and staff. The orchard will be utilized as a learning tool to help educate the students about agriculture, but the produce will also be sold at D'Vine Path along with custom floral designs by D'Vine Petal Flowers to help give the students experience working in sales and customer service.
"I feel like a broken record saying it takes a village to make this work, but that is our beautiful reality," Executive Director Lenila Lingad Batali said. "D'Vine Path has been successful because of our community and the generosity that has been continually offered these last four years. Our students' confidence and their growth across the board is evidence that the Farm and Vineyard vocational program concept is working."
Although D'Vine Path had many great successes in 2023 with the help of community support, Batali said the most success can be seen within the students and their growing love for the program as well as the faith they have found in themselves.
According to D'Vine Path facilitator and parent Jill Foley, D'Vine Path has helped her daughter Sydnee Silva's confidence tremendously.
"Finding the right program has been such a gift," Foley said. "Sydnee recognizes she is smart and hard working. Her memory retention in Viticulture and Enology far surpasses ours as parents;, she feels proud of the work she is doing, and she has been given the opportunities to relax and enjoy new friendships in a safe place while in the viticulture program at D'Vine Path."
Another student, Bill Willis, has found a strong and supportive community during his time at D'Vine Path.
In a conversation with his sister, Willis said, "Finding D'Vine Path was the best day of my life. I found my people."
In response, his sister said, "But me and your brother-in-law are your people!"
Willis replied, "No, you're my family. I see how people look at you and how they look at me, we are not the same. I found my people."
In 2024, Batali has a variety of goals she is hoping to achieve, including updates to the property and the implementation of more work experience for students. With the addition of the pomegranate orchard, D'Vine Petal Flowers, the barn and more, students will have the opportunity to continue to grow personally and professionally. It is Batali's hope that 2024 will be the year of fun and fruition for D'Vine Path.
"We've only just begun," she said. "Many more fun and exciting things to come."
Submitted by D'Vine Path.