Over 60 children ages 5-21 in our Special Services program helped not only grow a garden but beautify our Sam Field Center’s green space thanks to a grant from Con Edison! With the instruction of Lynn Capuano from Terrapin Environmental Solutions, children planted, grew, cared for, and harvested fresh produce like peppers, cucumbers, and basil over a six-week period.
“Our children had an amazing opportunity to learn about the environment and the evolution of plants and food, as well as how to use crops to make food,” said Lisa Armband, Senior Director of Programs for Children with Developmental Disabilities. “Most of our participants come from more urban neighborhoods so this was really a terrific introduction to gardening in so many ways.”
From learning how to plant and use gardening tools – the children even joked about their gloves looking like Spider-Man gloves – to working on sharing and how to be patient with one another, life lessons were learned this summer. We also spent significant time planting a garden at Martin Van Buren High School and working on our space at our Central Queens location, where we grow produce that goes directly to our food pantries.
“It was special for our children to have permission to get dirty,” added Armband. “It was almost as satisfying for the children to feel the soil in their hands as it was for them to use the basil that they grew to make their own pesto pasta. Just a great learning experience all around!”
“It’s so much fun to cut the plants and watch them grow,” said Christopher (10). “We watched baby plants grow into big plants!”