Sauvie Island Farm Promotes Mental Health With Corn Maze Design


Clarion photo Instagram: @bellaorganicfarm

The post revealing the 2022 corn maze design has 5,000 likes and counting on Instagram.

Bella Organic Farm on Sauvie Island has received nationwide attention for the design of their 2022 corn maze.

The maze features the words “hope” and “dial 988” to spread awareness about the new suicide hotline number, which launched on July 16. Reducing the crisis number from 10 digits to three was a huge stride for suicide prevention nationwide, which is especially relevant in the state of Oregon, where suicide rates remain 5 percent (per 100,000 people) above the national average despite a steady decline in recent years.

“Every year in the winter months prior to the maze we brainstorm ideas as a team and try to come up with some relevant ideas and touch on current events,” said Sofia Kondilis-Hashem, the marketing director of the farm. “We try to do something that positively impacts our community.”

An Instagram post announcing the design has been successful in spreading awareness, with over 5,000 likes and 100 comments.

Kondilis-Hashem has closely seen how the Instagram post took off, saying, “People have reached out from across the country telling us their stories of losing loved ones or friends to suicide, or they themselves or people they know have struggled with mental health; and we have had very positive feedback about the message in the maze, and also including the newly-announced 988 suicide prevention hotline.”

Bella Organic’s corn mazes have gone viral many times, from advocating for an MLB expansion to Portland in 2018, to thanking frontline workers in 2020, to carving out “United Against Hate” in 2021, their messages always resonate.

“Typically our mazes are relevant to current events so it is typical that our mazes spark discussions across the community and we are happy to be able to be a part of a positive message and spreading hope across our community,” Kondilis-Hashem said of that reputation.

She also confirmed the tradition will continue in the future, saying, “It will always be a relevant topic and we will always use our platform to try to do good things around us. That is our goal.”

As for this year, the maze will be open until Oct. 31, with a portion of proceeds being donated to local mental health nonprofits.