My students need eight 55 gallon poly drums to construct a strawberry barrel patch, the polypropylene tubing to extend our growing season, and the five garden beds to increase yield.
The goal for our students at Drew is to provide students with skill training that will transfer to the real adult world. Students learn the skills of Horticulture in a non-traditional classroom setting that promotes independent living and employability skills in real life environments, in gardens.
Our school is a unique vocational center for Moderate and Severely Cognitively Impaired, Visually Impaired, Hearing Impaired, Physically Impaired, Otherwise Health Impaired and students with Autism.
It is the vision of the Horticulture Program for all students to have access to materials and programs to learn, develop and participate in obtaining the skills of Horticulture through the planting, management, consumption and sales of vegetables and flowers.
The objectives of our garden program center around the development of a comprehensive hands-on program to allow for each student to gain functional independence and/or job readiness skills in the production, consumption and sales of food and food-related products. This we will accomplish by the management of a school garden program that gives entrepreneurial and social experiences at local farmers markets, food banks and neighborhood soup kitchens.
In our current garden program, students are planting, maintaining and harvesting fresh greens for use in their school lunch program. With the addition of the materials requested, students will be able to expand their efforts with the raised garden beds, so that more produce can be produced, and this produce can be marketed at local farmers markets, soup kitchens, and more. These such experiences will enhance job readiness skills. In the interest of broadening the Horticultural horizons of student, 55 gallon plastic barrels have been requested, so that they may be converted into strawberry planters. The resulting berries will also be sold at farmers markets, and with the assistance of our school kitchen, students will be able to produce jams and jellies, further diversifying their skills and efforts. One of the most important aspects of any garden is the length of the growing season. With the request for polypropylene tubing, we will create mini-hoophouses to extend growing seasons.
These donations will give our students more experiences in gaining horticulture skills, provide for a variety of produce which will increase interest level and skill adaptations.
With these donations and their use, more opportunities for job related readiness will be realized, helping to make our students self sufficient, increase their ability to work cooperatively, leading to greater levels of self-worth and confidence in their abilities.
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