The GTC Grant is Sponsored by:
Eden Autism ServicesLocation: Princeton, New Jersey
Ages of the children working on the garden: 4-21
The garden was established in Spring of 2012.
Find out about this amazing project, in their words and watch their brief video:
The Green Thumbs for Autism project was established to provide an ongoing learning experience for Eden's students, all of whom have autism, and began with the creation of a raised bed garden. With the help of their teachers, students are responsible for planting, watering, weeding, pruning, harvesting and composting waste from vegetables planted in the garden, as well as taking inventory and creating shopping lists that are used for trips to local businesses to purchase plants and supplies. Once we are able to purchase and install a small greenhouse on our school property, the garden program will be year-round and enable our students to add to the above skills those of cleaning and maintaining the greenhouse.
The Green Thumbs for Autism program impacts the community in several ways: by using eco-friendly products in and composting waste from the garden and greenhouse, we are minimizing any negative impact on the environment. THe garden also provides an opportunity for Eden to support local businesses (from whom we purchase plants and supplies), as well as reciprocal opportunity for businesses and individuals in the community to support Eden by donating funds and items for the garden. Equally important are the opportunities the garden provides for awareness about autism and Eden - for example, when our students make their shopping trips or when visitors to our school tour the garden and greenhouse.
The garden is used as a teaching tool in a variety of ways. In addition to the necessary skills used to plant, tend and harvest vegetables in the garden, students also learn environmental and science-related concepts. Many of our students are learning basic addition and therefore mathematics can be paired with environmental lessons by having the students count seeds, plants, and other inventory. Through the Green Thumbs for Autism program, students learn that creating and fostering a healthy environment is not only important for the ecosystem, but a necessity for sustaining a quality food supply. Moreover, the garden program teaches awareness of the importance of recycling the by-products of the plants for composting.