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The Farm Chef Project

Agro-education program for youth with disabilities through growing, harvesting, cooking and eating.

Amy Rojek

  • Project Description

    As a special education teacher I have seen a need for programs which go beyond academic growth and support the lifelong journey of skill building, specifically social, socio-emotional, motor, and life skills. I have also seen a decline in school funding for non-academic electives that schools offer their students, and it is even more limiting for students with disabilities. In seeing this need for skill growth and new learning opportunities, the Farm Chef Project was created to supplement the current education that children with disabilities are receiving. Educators and parents grow concerned during the summer as there is a fear of academic and skill regression. Through this program we want to ensure youth will be able to work on their skill growth, to ultimately set them up for a smoother transition for the upcoming school year. This program also will support the ongoing skill growth that is applicable for each child, and truly work in tandem with their academic, social, emotional, physical and life skill goals. Growing and harvesting produce are two elements of the program which provide education on topics like plant life cycles, environmental impacts on ecosystems, and the necessary skills to take care of living organisms. Cooking and eating our harvest are the other two elements which support vital life skill growth in using kitchen tools, following recipes, understanding elements of nutrition, and expanding the palate through tasting new foods.
    The Farm Chef Project
  • Why is the timing right for your idea?

    We are coming out of a year where remote education has taken over the lives of families. Parents may be struggling to find programs for their children to join, looking for a reprieve from the tech-driven education like we have experienced this past school year. Aligning with environmental activism, this program acts as a platform for education about the environment, how to live sustainably, as well understanding basic nutrition and how we can lead to an overall healthier life. This program also supports education reform, providing more diverse and greater quality of learning opportunities for children with learning disabilities. I believe that by changing the environment in which one learns in, you learn to love learning.

  • What is your competitive advantage?

    The Farm Chef Project is uniquely designed to support youth and young adults with learning differences and disabilities. By creating realistic opportunities to foster growth, it leads to acquiring the skills needed when looking for and maintaining jobs. With the quantity of trade-schools dwindling, farming and cooking skills are typically only provided when going to school for that occupation. The Farm Chef Project aims to provide this education for everyone in the program, showcasing that these skills are necessary for everyone in order to live in a more sustainable world, as well as broadening the candidates in fields which normally do not accommodate for people with learning differences.

  • What will you do with $10,000?

    With $10,000, The Farm Chef Project will be able to purchase materials to create and maintain our own raised beds and greenhouses on both school and farm land. The funding will also support the nutrition and cooking education supplies necessary to provide appropriate and safe tools for the children to learn how to use. A portion will also be allocated towards our staff who are not only educators, but will need to be trained in working with children with disabilities in the agro-education world. Other portions will be used for further marketing and fundraising concepts. With remaining funds, it is our goal to have our own land to utilize as a permanent learning institution for both summer and year-round educational facilities.