Peachy the Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 35

GARDENS The New Frontier in Farming too, stating, “In just a year, it’s been astounding to witness how Vertical Harvest has impacted our commu- nity and inspired others. The pairing of world-first innovation with an underserved population is what is important, that people with different abilities deserve not just employment, but meaningful employment. Our public tours allow members of the Jackson community and visitors to see our model working firsthand. Learn- ing about sustainable agriculture and hydroponic farming from an adult with different abilities challenges some pre-conceived notions of what this population is capable of.”  Nona is referring to Vertical Harvest’s “Innovative Employment” model. The farm provides meaningful employment and a fully-integrated workplace for local Wyoming resi- dents with different abilities. The program identifies the strengths, conditions and interests of a job candidate to discover the unique talents of people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Caroline Croft Estay, Director of Human Resources, says, “My vision is that integrated employment becomes a natural part of a business structure throughout our country. I believe employment in the disability world is the next Civil Rights move- ment. Since there are more people diagnosed each year with varying degrees of disabilities, we need to look at the holistic picture. Meaning- ful and competitive employment is the future.” Sprout Academy is an education and community engagement program launched this summer that focuses on kids. The living classroom tells the story of food, from farm to plate, and how plants are integral to lead- ing a healthy lifestyle. The hands-on curriculum encourages independent thinking as students learn about hydroponic farming, nutrition, plant biology and the connection between food and community. Education Coordinator Joelle Lazzare- schi says, “We are so thrilled with the success of the Sprout Academy pilot program. It allowed us to see that interest in these types of programs is strong throughout the Jackson com- munity, and we hope to be able to fund an expansion of our education programs going forward.” FALL 2017 33