Pictured: Derek and Banks

On May 17, the South Lake Chamber of Commerce Breakfast was hosted by the main sponsor, independent farmer Banks Helfrich. Known for his advocacy for autism, Helfrich shared insights on how his farm has become a place for autistic individuals with meaningful work and a sense of community.

During his talk, Helfrich invited Derek, a young adult on the autism spectrum, to speak about autism awareness. Derek’s mother Kandi, representative of Wespeak Parent Group at Lake County, noted that to prepare for his presentation, Derek spent over five hours battling OCD and anxiety to prepare his speech. He did a fantastic job enlightening those attending.

Banks Helfrich attended Georgia State University and spent two years on the road with the Greatest Show on Earth.  In 2018, he became Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District, Seat 1. In 2019, he became the chairperson.

He built his home on a seven-acre plot of former citrus groves. In 2020, Banks created a food-bearing orchard, vineyard, vegetable garden, rainbow eucalyptus forest and pineapple/blueberry patch. 

Banks opens his seven-acre farm to the public for tours. He says, “Bring a bucket/bag, a hat and your curiosity.”  He says complimentary farm tours will educate and encourage “own-grown” foods.

Banks Helfrich has helped bring awareness to autism and underscores his advocacy for his broader mission to address issues including mental health, development, and freedom rights including voting rights, reproductive rights, human rights, and all amendments (not just the 1st and 2nd). Banks is currently running for Florida House. To learn more, visit BanksHelfrich.com

The co-sponsor of the South Lake Chamber of Commerce Breakfast was David Miller, owner of Spherion Staffing and Recruiting. Spherion provides Flexible Staffing, Temp-To-Hire, Direct Hire Placement and Workforce Management Solutions. To learn more, visit SPHERION STAFFING

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