Starting this season, particular wants college students from throughout Prolonged Island will harvest crops On the Nassau BOCES Rosemary Kennedy School in Wantagh to feed senior residents and meals insecure households Inside their communities.
“This new program currents us many new alternatives To current vocational instruction for our college students,” Rosemary Kennedy School principal Matthew Zegers said. “The inexperienced house space serves as An outdoors classroom for them to develop healthful produce.”
Roughly 78 college students with developmental disabilities who attend Nassau BOCES will halficipate Inside The mannequin new program which is tied to Smile Farms, a nonprofit which finds job alternatives associated to agriculture for Individuals with disabilities and goals To level out them farming expertises, Based mostly on the group’s internet website.
The Smile Farms at Nassau BOCES program kicked off formally Sept. 29 at a ribbon-slicing ceremony On the Wantagh location.
“I’m very excited that we’re In a place to current This alternative for our college students,” said Zegers. “We continuously Search for nice, inventive new strategies to problem them and practice them new expertise mannequins.”
In This method, “Smile Farmers”, ages 10 to 21, will study To rearrange produce for manufacturing, collectively with seed-startning, cultivating, harvesting, advertising and distrihoweverion of their crops, Managing Director of Smile Farms Diana Martin said. Twelve raised cedar beds with irrigation Shall be used to develop peppers, tomatoes and completely different crops. Instructional rooms Shall be outfitted with develop labs.
Martin said that That is the primary time Smile Farms will halfner with a program of a quantity of school districts and that she appears forward to The further alternatives This will create.
“We now have halfnerships with two particular person schools, however to halfner with Nassau BOCES, understanding What quantity Of schools They’ve And the method deeply rooted They’re Inside the Nassau County group. … We really feel like That is going to open up so many alternatives to create further halfnerships, Which might imply extra farms, extra educational alternatives and probably extra job alternatives.”
Grown produce Shall be donated To be used at Hempstead Senior Facilities, the Meadowbrook Various Program at Brookside, Hempstead Conservation and Waterstrategies, and used for campus lunches at Nassau BOCES amenities.
The program, which started late September, launched with two educational packages, ten practiceers and 78 teenagers and youthful adults, Martin said. One Nassau BOCES graduate is presently working half-time On The grins Farm program.
Smile Farms founder Jim McCann, who May even be the Founding father of 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc., said He is wanting forward to The start of this new program.
“It’s An alternative to broaden our providers,” McCann said. “I get Eager about serving to people in want. I get excited As quickly as I see thOn they get Eager about With The power To assist completely different people. There’s one factor magical about that circle of service – They’re in want however are serving to completely differents.”
McCann said his ardour for philanthropy and his brcompletely different’s incapacity are parts of what prompted him to create Smile Farms. “Having a brcompletely different who was in want Of these providers performed An monumental position,” he said. “He is terribly verbal and social. With Smile Farms, I used to be In a place to create A great profession alternative for [my] brcompletely different Who’s cherishing it.”
The Wantagh facility marks the Tenth Smile Farms location Inside the NYC metro area. Nassau BOCES is a public agency that serves 300 schools and 225,000 college students of the 56 school districts in Nassau County.