Our agency provides educational, therapeutic foster care, therapy and behavioral intervention supports to some of Vermont’s most challenging youth. We serve children and teens aged 5 to 21 who experience learning, behavioral and mental health challenges. We encourage non-traditional, experiential learning environments and formed the Laraway School Garden in 2011 after our agency moved to a 39-acre site along the Lamoille River in Johnson, VT.
This past season our garden included vegetables, a small nursery, three raised kitchen herb beds, composting, and a large cover cropped area for future expansion and crop rotation. Our Farm Stewardship staff (a position developed during the move in 2011) manage the garden, with help from groups we hope to expand on this season: community volunteers, our School programs Farmer on Site initiative, and our Backpack programs Summer Program. We have dual goals of growing food for the cafeteria (while closing the loop with our composting) and creating a space that nurtures educational and therapeutic activity, a true outdoor classroom. Working closely with kitchen staff, we hope to produce 20% of the need for each crop we decide to grow. To improve our garden management plan, we are building our community volunteer initiative and investigating the possibility of a garden intern. We are also in the process of rehabilitating and old greenhouse and building cold frames.
Our youth benefit through observing and understanding their role in the food system - learning to grow food is an empowering experience that builds a self-awareness and respect many of our clients struggle with. Our agency benefits by offering local, healthy food in our cafeteria and the greater community benefits through using our land as a resource while supporting solutions to some of their most challenging social issues.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA