Berry Good Farms at N Florida School of Special Ed. ROCKS!
North Florida School of Special Education’s Transition students (18-22 years) and post-graduates (22+ years) have embarked on a new industry to grow a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The horticulture program provides produce and related agricultural goods for seasonal sales to the students, our community, caterers and restaurants wanting local produce. The goal of Berry Good Farms is to teach horticulture to NFSSE students (age 6 – 18 years), Transition students (age 18-22 years) and post-graduates with intellectual disabilities while providing the community with a valuable service through local enterprise, entrepreneurship, and educational opportunities. Berry Good Farms sets forth to have a self-sustaining, viable industry for students and post-graduates, ultimately providing compensated employment to a special needs group wanting to become independent, productive citizens in their community. A 30x60 greenhouse allows year round production of vegetables, wheat grass, herbs, microgreens, and veggie starts as well as housing the Aquaculture/Aquaponics program.
The vision of Berry Good Farms is to provide a self-sustaining industry for Transition students and graduates, encompassing education and post-graduate compensated employment. NFSSE students will be trained in the field of horticulture and production of agricultural goods.
Berry Good Farms allows NFSSE to expand its current curriculum and vocational programs to include farming of fruits, herbs and vegetables to be marketed to restaurants, schools, caterers, event planners and the local community. The industry employing students and alumni with intellectual disabilities will provide sustainable food in an ecological manner.
SEASONAL PRODUCTS include
Lettuces, Kale, Collard greens, Onions, Beans, Eggplant, Squash, Cucumbers, Carrots, Peas, Raspberries, Blueberries, Herbs, Peppers, Broccoli, Dried Herb Mixes, Wheat Grass, Microgreens, Veggie Starts…And more…
The NFSSE aquaculture/aquaponics project is integrated into the greenhouse. Two 500 gallon fish tanks raise blue tilapia and native sunfishes in its operation. The fish product will be sold to local restaurants, caterers and chefs. The nutrient-rich water from the tanks is used in the garden and greenhouse for watering and fertilization of vegetables and other produce. The aquaponics project provides another valuable source of educational and applicable vocational training for our students and post-graduates.
The mission of Berry Good Farms is to teach and employ intellectually disabled individuals while providing the community a valuable service through local enterprise, entrepreneurship, and educational opportunities.
For Information on Berry Good Farms, please contact Ellen Hiser, Director of Transition & Berry Good Farms OR Tim Armstrong, Berry Good Farms Manager (904) 724-8323.