Our mission is to create an experience that will teach our students transferable job skills, connect them to the community and improve their quality of life. We are a class of Intellectually disabled young adults and we have an assisted living facility across the street from our school. Raised bed gardens are a great Assistive Technology approach to help those with physical disabilities be able to participate and learn the therapeutic values of gardening.
Through the Green Market/Community Gardens Project, we are preparing our youth to step into a brighter tomorrow by teaching them sustainable farming techniques and adapting a lifestyle that’s healthier for our bodies as well as for the Earth. Local agriculture is a topic of great interest, especially in Brevard County. Most of the food we consume is shipped to us on trucks and trains. For many reasons, this is not sustainable for the future.
Hydroponics is wonderful way to use assistive technology with our students with disabilities. Our goal is to raise awareness and inspire all students and those in the community to become aware of the benefits that come from locally fresh grown fruits and vegetables. We at Clearlake Education Center want to encourage people to get away from processed foods and get back to the basics while enhancing our environment. We will promote and encourage healthy eating and volunteering within the community. We are committed to saving the environment through recycling, reducing and reusing, keeping our soil rich and preserving our own health by growing organic and eating healthy. The students and faculty will educate our school community on working together to meet our stated goals. We are going green for the benefit of our world and community.
Under the direction of Danielle Campbell, students have been involved for the past 9 years in a state-wide recycling project which involved teaching the school community about recycling. This Green Market and Community Gardens Project is a natural next step to apply our learning to discover opportunities for community connection and self-improvement as a self-supporting, school-based enterprise.
Students will learn to prepare and sell goods and craft items that they are creating as part of our recycling program. We will also be selling fresh produce grown with Integrated Pest Management principles in hydroponic systems and raised bed community garden.
Students learn how to prepare items for market and to display them to attract customers, how to interact with the public and handle money, as well as the economics of bookkeeping, budgeting and running a retail enterprise. The Green Market invites local growers and craftsmen to set up a table and work side-by-side with us, offering a place for the public to purchase items not available in proximity to the Clearlake community. By accepting EBT/SNAP, we will be serving every nearby demographic.
Students will work side-by-side with members of the community and have a chance to get their hands in the dirt in our raised-bed gardens. We will invite the community to lease space for a nominal fee and come and grow produce with us in our raised-bed gardens. We have chosen this approach to help avoid some of the common pitfalls of Florida farming, such as soil-borne pathogens, and other pests. Raised bed gardening is less challenging for those with physical limitations; especially the elderly. The therapeutic benefit of gardening is well documented. Fresh air and sunshine are good for overall health and brain function.