Under the supervision of a licensed teacher with a specialized background in horticulture, practical lessons in the garden, enhance and reinforce theoretical learning in the classroom. Students gain respect for nature, manual work, individuals and the community, and have opportunities to grow plants, harvest vegetables, and prepare meals using produce out of the garden. And with School Gardens on both the Brewster and Clearpool campuses, as well as the multi-acre Boni-Bel Organic Farm, there are ample spaces for students to get their hands dirty.
Our garden instructors collaborate closely with the school’s Life Skills class where students cook the fruits (and vegetables) of their labors and incorporate healthy eating habits. During the spring, summer and fall months, students participate in planting, maintenance and harvesting of the crops. Students also learn about aeroponics in a vertical garden that grows lettuce, tomatoes, and many herbs, connecting the science and benefits of growing plants this way. In the winter, students learn about the scientific side of horticulture, including plant anatomy and seed propagation in our 600-square-foot greenhouse.
Students also work directly with our Institute Interns who observe and participate in classes and facilitate one-on-one activities. Interns guide therapeutic and recreational activities such as making beeswax candles, mixing organic lotions, drying culinary herbs and readying fresh chicken eggs for sale to the public.