The Schenectady ARC Berry Special Garden
Schenectady ARC (SARC) is 501(c)(3) organization that assists over 1,400 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Schenectady County, New York to live, work and play in their respective communities. Based at our 3,000 square foot greenhouse located at our Maple Ridge Day Center in Rotterdam, New York, we operate a horticulture center that provides specialized instruction to 250 individuals with I/DD in such areas as nursery and greenhouse management, floral design, plant cultivation and potting, traditional gardening techniques, landscape maintenance and plant nutrition. In 2010, the center developed a nationally recognized nutrition education program aimed at reducing the high rate of chronic disease among individuals with I/DD (http://www.cdc.gov/NCBDDD/NACCHO_Videos/schenectady/). With $300 obtained from the Sow it Forward Garden Grants Program of Kitchen Gardeners International, SARC will purchase the materials necessary to create an 800-square foot fruit garden adjacent to our greenhouse where our horticulture coordinator and 25 individuals with I/DD will grow blueberries and raspberries throughout the spring and summer of 2014. SARC staff will then incorporate the fruit, upon its harvest in late August and early September, into a series of meal preparation training classes during which participants will prepare 20 raspberry pies (we do not anticipate that our blueberry plants will yield a sufficient amount of mature fruit until the following year). Ultimately, the project will help our participants to achieve the goals of (a) learning valuable work skills toward acquiring employment in the horticulture industry, (b) increasing fruit consumption toward a healthier lifestyle and the continued mitigation of chronic disease, and (c) learning daily living skills that are essential for eventual independent living in the community.
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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