The Farm to School Work Hub is also the Growing Educational Training Campus – where students with disabilities learn life skills and receive job training while helping get fresh, local food into school lunches.
Students produce over 150 heads of lettuce each week in a hydroponic greenhouse, help care for an acre of fruit and vegetables, and package produce grown on area farms for district lunchrooms. GET Students receive valuable training in horticulture, food production, food safety, and nutrition while directly impacting the local food system.
SafeStaff training class
GET students also support other school gardens. They build garden boxes and grow transplants for school gardens growing food for the lunchroom throughout the district. In addition, they help staff field trip activity centers for visiting elementary students.
Post-graduation, students can use these growing and nutrition skills in their day-to-day lives. Many will go into paying jobs in food service and horticulture. There is a direct pipeline between qualified students and school lunchrooms, where many have entered into an apprenticeship program. Several of these highly trained professionals have been hired by the school system into full-time jobs with benefits. Our neighbor, the GROW Hub (Growing Real Opportunities for Work), is also in the process of hiring graduating students to work in horticulture.
During the first year of our program, one of the students was asked how he liked the training at the Farm to School to Work Hub, and he replied that he liked it because he was good at it and his work helped people. This is exactly what we all want from our jobs.
Matt, a former GET students receiving “Employee of the Month” award from Food and Nutrition Services.