Fresno State TARGET / Horticulture Program / Student Cupboard Vegetable Donation

(Calliope Correia) The kids come out here once every other week and they have built all these beds they grow all the vegetables so it’s all the process of nurturing plants until they’re ready to harvest and once they harvest them they take them to the (Fresno State student) cupboard to donate the produce. Right now we have broccoli cauliflower, chard, kale, bok choy little bit of everything, then in spring we’ll do a round of summer crops. A lot of the veggies are a little bit different and they have never tried them before. The school district that we work with has helped a lot to purchase new beds, irrigation, the fencing. Every year we get more and more equipment and we get better and better. (Sandra Richardson) The TARGET program actually stands for Techniques Asset Reaching Goals towards Employment Training. The students in the program are 18 to 22 and really prepare them for independent living, be it through job experience training independent living skills, basic academics that they might need on the job. We have many department partnerships – we work with the kinesiology department, we work with the rehab counseling department, the English department, the food science department as well as of course our plant science and it’s just been a fabulous experience. This is our eighth year on the Fresno State campus and we started with a handful of students, five students. Now we have 17 which is very exciting and they’re with us for approximately four years. (Calliope Correia) It actually started with my master’s research. It was based on therapeutic horticulture and using horticulture as a way to improve people’s lives, to kind of help with social skills, life skills, teaching them how to take care of something. The pride that they get from growing something from a seed to something that’s harvestable. Usually when they first come out their first semester that they don’t want to get dirty, and they don’t want to go outside in the rain, but once they get outside and start working with the plants in the soil and they love coming out here and it’s a great time, and smiles everywhere.

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