News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Meaden & Moore

The Holden Arboretum

Levin Furniture


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Social Issues




Growing greens and self-esteem and meeting the challenges of Mother Nature
From the Quick Bites larder: The story of an exceptional crew of dedicated young farmers
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
Hattie's Gardeners enjoy their work rain or shine and some plan careers in farming.
Courtesy of Vivian Goodman
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

It’s always a rich harvest at Hattie’s Gardens.

Spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and beans, grow here, and so do the people who plant them.

They are adults with disabilities learning how to be farmers.

WKSU’s Vivian Goodman introduced them to us last year and we’re back for another visit.

LISTEN

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:11)


At Crown Point Ecology Center, an organic farm and education center in Bath, a slender young man pauses on a hot, hazy morning to wipe his brow.

He leans into his spade, and rips into hard clumps of soil.

Then his job coach kneels next to him in the dirt as he tries a new challenge: planting.

"So that’s what you can do here,” she softly tells him. “Scoot this down, and just start dropping them in the holes and then I’ll come behind you, OK?”  

The work goes well, and Hattie’s Gardens manager Nathan Edge says that’s typical.

 “They are all eager to learn. They’re excited with any new tasks that we bring to them.”

Hattie’s Gardens is one of the Hattie Larlham Foundation’s many vocational programs for people with developmental disabilities.

The foundation headquartered in Mantua was established more than 50 years ago by an intensive care nurse at Ravenna’s Robinson Memorial Hospital. She took 10 children into her farmhouse to care for them. Today, with a 35 million dollar annual budget, the nonprofit serves 1500 people in 20 Ohio counties.

Growing greens and self-esteem
This is the third growing season for Hattie’s Gardens at Crown Point. It’s a small plot. The group started with just 450 square feet and expanded this year to an acre and a half.

Edge says the seven participants learn a lot.

 “Urban gardening  or agriculture, but more so learning how to work in a group as a team, learning what it takes to really maintain a steady job, and I think I’ve seen a lot of these guys grow  more responsible, more independent in not only their work lives, but also their personal lives.”  

Edge makes sure they learn how to use farm tools and basic gardening skills.

 “But also that they maintain those skills. And if we need them to, they can work independent of us… We have a wide range of folks that we serve. So we try to match the specific person’s challenges to different tasks that we need done, but we also try to challenge, you know, help us out with something new or learn a new skill.”  

 Edge introduces us to 22-year-old John McKim who says he likes the feel of the soil.

“Watching the circle of life of growing stuff from seeds spring forth from the earth and it’s just like a natural feeling that I have.”

 He intends to make a living as a farmer.

“I’m looking at further on down the road maybe one day breaking off from Hattie’s and starting my own farm… which I’m naming after my grandfather who taught me everything that I know.”   

John’s favorite chore is tending to the cucumbers.

Making sure they’re developing right, have that nice golden, Irish, emerald green color which means they’re at the peak of freshness for harvest.”

Chefs and foodies appreciate the quality
Chefs praise the quality of what John is growing.  The Blue Door Café in Cuyahoga Falls and the Tavern of Richfield are supplied by Hattie’s Gardens.

At Hattie’s Cafes, adults with developmental disabilities get vocational training in food service. The Hattie Larlham Foundation has four snack shops in Akron and one on Lakeside Avenue in Cleveland.

Hattie’s Cafes get fruits, vegetables, and herbs from Hattie’s Gardens, and Nathan Edge sets up stands at farmers’ markets to sell what’s left.

 “About two dozen varieties of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, regular slicing tomatoes, but of course a lot of heirloom varieties. We have peppers. We have your traditional sweet bell pepper, green and red. We have some bullhorn peppers, which are also sweet peppers. Jalapenos, cayenne, and a few other interesting varieties that you might not find at your store traditionally. We have pole beans, bush beans, yellow, green and purple varieties. We’re growing spinach. We grow about a dozen varieties of lettuce, butter crisp, summer crisp lettuce and then traditional romaine lettuce.” 

Edge says many of the farmers weren’t familiar with vegetables until they grew them.

Like one young man who came to work in Hattie’s Gardens who’d moved to Akron recently from a food desert on the south-side of Chicago.

 “I don’t know if he could have told you the difference between a tomato plant and a carrot probably, but he’s grown and started learning how to plant vegetables, how we harvest, and he’s now one who will bring vegetables home every day to his family.”  

The farmers-in-training can take home all the fresh produce they want, and that ties into the mission of Hattie’s Gardens’ host. The Dominican Sisters of Peace established Crown Point in 1989 to engage people with nature, and to renew earth and spirit.

Hattie Larlham CEO Dennis Allen is also working with Crown Point’s neighbor, Old Trail School, and the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, not only to employ people with disabilities, but also to teach children about sustainable small-scale farming  and good nutrition.

 “We’re looking really at how do we educate. How do we take what we’re learning here at Crown Point, what we’re learning at Old Trail School, and take that into the inner city.

You can buy what Hattie’s gardeners have grown at the Quark Cultural Center in Cuyahoga Falls and the Countryside Conservancy Farmers’ Market at Akron’s Highland Square.

And that’s this week’s Quick bite. Next week we’ll explore the ritual and flavors of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

(Click image for larger view.)

Listener Comments:

I find Crown Point inspiring in many ways, and this story is one of the best.


Posted by: Kristi Jalics (Bath, Ohio) on June 21, 2014 2:06AM
What a wonderful piece on our partners! So happy that Vivian did this. It brought tears to my eyes. Such an honor to have these wonderful folks here. Everyday they are so upbeat and helpful. They serve as real-time teachers to us.


Posted by: Nancy Wolf (Crown Point Ecology Center, Bath, OH) on June 20, 2014 10:06AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook






Stories with Recent Comments

The generation gap in care for developmentally disabled Ohioans
I don't understand how a few hours a day of caregiving can possibly help a person who lives with complex/multiple disabilities. Many waiver recipients totally d...

Marijuana referendum may change more than pot's legal status in Ohio
If our representatives would act in accordance with the will of the people things like this wouldn't happen. They dragged their feet and blocked discussion on t...

Area pastors and congregation members protest justice system
I live in Cleveland. trust me when I say the high incarceration rate is due to the high crime rate.

Ohio's attorney general rejectsthe latest proposal to legalize marijuana
i think the ag launguage is money hes talking about drug companies must pay him more than responsible ohio can

PBS documentary chronicles the fall of Saigon through new footage and stories
Hi, Does anyone know the number - in the pbs special "Last Days of Vietnam" documentary, of how many Vietnamese were evacuated? Please e-mail me the answer. T...

Protest planned at tomorrow's FirstEnergy meeting
The problems of the poor and downtrodden have nothing to do with First Energy. They are the result of Republican legislators who consistently reduce taxes on th...

Ohio bill would help smaller communities with LGBT discrimination laws
Do we not try and have rights for all individuals equally? On the HUD list of "preferred" candidates who get "special consideration" it states that: For purp...

Ohio likely will continue with two types of police academies
Wake up people your wanting a Harvard law school education for a job that may pay a little over the poverty level. I don't know anyone who could support a wife ...

Police Week's ties from NE Ohio to D.C.
The men and women in blue who risk their lives everyday to serve and protect us....and this is as much recognition and appreciation that NPR/WKSU feels to offer...

First in a Series: How charter schools got a foothold in Ohio
If the interest where in education and there would be oversight of taxpayer dollars, charter schools would be okay. However, Charter School in Ohio are purely f...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University