Patients prepare farm-to-table treats

What began as an idea to create a small garden at St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services for adults with significant disabilities in Stratford to promote increased motor skills, muscle tone and enhanced sensory input took root and grew into a work activity that produces several varieties of pickles and organic dog biscuits.

For the past few years, gardens planted on-site produced a variety of vegetables such as tomatoes, squash, eggplant and cucumbers. Beth Jezierny, director of Adult Services, said, “Participants enjoyed working in the garden and eating the vegetables grown. This spring, however, we wanted to find a way to share their passion of gardening and producing farm-to-table meals with the community.”

After researching recipes on how to make brine and visits to local farms and stores to purchase supplies, they decided to try their hand at making pickles. Additional garden space was acquired at The Farm, a community farm in Stratford, that had a raised bed available to allow wheelchairs to fit underneath, and the seeds were sown.

Now, they sell their pickles at the Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, along with other specialty, organic dog biscuits. The money earned is used to replenish supplies and provide the participants with a paycheck … a paycheck they may never have earned before. Like the rest of us, these adults feel a sense of accomplishment and freedom that earning their own money provides.

So, what started out as a way to promote health and well-being, turned into a work opportunity where adults with developmental disabilities have been given an opportunity to participate in their community, earn a paycheck and gain a sense of pride in a job well done.

St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services is a trusted provider of lifelong education and therapeutic services. The Changing Images Adult Day Program offers recreational, supported employment and work services to adults with disabilities from two locations in Stratford and Norwalk. A special education school, based in Trumbull, CT, is an alternative placement option for children, ages 3-21, with developmental disabilities, special health care needs and students with autism spectrum disorders. Parent education, transition support services and residential placements are also available.

Adult Day staff and participants sell homegrown and handcrafted products at St. Vincent’s Medical Center’s farmer’s market.

Adult Day staff and participants sell homegrown and handcrafted products at St. Vincent’s Medical Center’s farmer’s market.

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. Fairfield Sun, 1000 Bridgeport Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress