Our growing space at Martin Luther King High School was established in 2014 to share life skills related to urban farming and nutrition with students affected by intellectual disabilities and autism. The program centers on experiential learning that connects classroom lessons with real-life application, focusing on practical and vocational life skills that lead to increased independence. Through the process of working in our gardens, orchard and OARC greenhouse students are exposed to nutritionally dense, culturally relevant foods and food pathways. They also learn valuable life skills such as cooperatively completing tasks, following multi-step directions, developing fine and gross motor functions, and learning about food production and simple meal preparations.
In Fall 2022 we added weekly programming for the Culinary Arts CTE (career technical education) students, introducing fresh produce from the gardens and supporting them to explore new recipes prepared from what is grown. In 2023 the Culinary Arts students will continue programming and begin the process of growing their own food in the gardens, orchard and greenhouse. We will also offer programming and growing space to the environmental science classes, and begin community conversations with students and faculty around development of a community farm market trailer that will feature produce and products grown, prepared and served by MLK and Saul High School students.