Chicago,IL – Growing Solutions Farm offers 20 young adults on the autism spectrum aged 18-26, classes on how to plant, grow, harvest, and cook herbs, vegetables and edible flowers.
The farm spans a 1.2 acre plot in Near West Side. In an interview conducted by the Chicago Tribune operations manager Gwenne Godwin said that these classes are not just about learning how to grow and cook nutritious foods:
“This is a vocational farm, so we’re teaching job skills. How to work with others, being on time, how to dress, how to do a resume. Those skills translate to any job. We’re using the medium of agriculture to teach here.”
What’s more, she made sure that each of the 28 raised growing beds has a sensory component to them.
“When we’re harvesting, the one rule is they have to smell and taste what they’re harvesting. They’ll smell the mint. ‘Oh, (it’s) gum!’”
The farm is part of the Julie + Michael Tracy Family Foundation’s Urban Autism Solutions program and donates 75 percent of it’s crop yield to local food pantries. Growing Solutions is the foundations first beneficiary and has caught the attention of the National Garden Bureau which plans to fund therapeutic gardens through the U.S.
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