River's Way has been working with special education students in gardens since 2012. We work in two garden sites: the Vance Community Garden behind Vance Middle School in Bristol TN and the hoop houses we operate on the grounds of Central Christian Church in Bristol TN. Gardening has proven to be a highly successful collaborative project involving Bristol TN City Schools, Bristol VA Public Schools, the Bristol Family YMCA, Appalachian Sustainable Development and Central Christian Church. The Bristol Morning Rotary Club, Appalachian Sustainable Development and Grow Appalachia were instrumental in helping us to construct our two hoop houses.
Gardening provides for a great learning tool. As with all of our programming, students with special needs have hands-on opportunities to learn the team skills that are essential to success in the workplace. Students also learn about gardening and they learn about foods that many have never encountered. It is truly amazing to see how much of an impact gardening has had with most classes working in the gardens for two- three periods each week!
Our lunch program at Cafe Central relies on fresh produce from the gardens and we strive to have our meals match the growing seasons of our many vegetables. Join us for a meal at Cafe Central and see how our efforts in the garden pay off when it comes to serving great food!