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ABA Environmental Program Partners with Greens Do Good

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Rae Allex
14 October 2021

Zack Pellegrini working with Greens Do Good; photo credit:  Rae AllexAn eager team of students from Mr. Sander's Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Environmental class have been learning how to plant, seed, water and harvest produce. They have acquired skills for two growing techniques: the more traditional process where they use soil, garden beds and/or pots, and the less traditional setting, where they skip the soil and grow crops directly in nutrient-rich water, known as hydroponic farming. Presently, these students are raising basil, parsley, spinach, radishes, cilantro, romaine lettuce, catnip, two kinds of flowers (Calendula and Rubenza Cosmos), micro greens and kale. In the future the students will sell their products to faculty and staff. This will consist of students taking orders, collecting money and distributing their products around the school. 

Hydroponically grown basil and romaine lettuce; photo credit:  Rae AllexEnvironmental Science teachers Mr. Sanders and Mr. Goodman, Director of Special Education Mr. Paternoster and PV/Bergen Program Supervisor Ms. Dubil-Craig worked together to partner with Greens Do Good, an indoor hydroponic vertical farm in Hackensack, NJ. Greens Do Good focuses on providing adults with autism a sense of purpose, paid employment, and meaningful participation in the community. Our partnership enables Passaic Valley’s ABA students in Environmental Science the opportunity to become a part of the Greens Do Good Workforce Development Program. Students gain valuable vocational skills and lay out the foundation for future independence. Greens Do Good grows, packages and sells directly from farm to restaurants, specialty markets, country clubs and caterers. Their greens can be found at the following local businesses: Bottagra Restaurant in Hawthorne, NJ, Edgewood Country Club, Alt Eats Cafe in Ho Ho Kus, NJ, and multiple Shoprite locations.

Micro greens; photo credit: Rae Allex“I have never worked with this population of students and I have found it to be extremely rewarding on both a personal and professional level,” said Mr. Sanders. “In the short amount of time this class has been running the students have shown incredible growth. They have gone from not knowing how to plant a seed, to planting and caring for hundreds of plants in the matter of a month.”

The Hornet family is extremely grateful for the efforts of the members at Greens Do Good for their selfless dedication to our program and “growing for a greater good”!