oldschoolFarmMillarRich and the Old School:Integration & Community Inclusion

It’s hard to believe that it’s already August in the Old School Farm’s third growing season. Josh and J-Rod are spending their days trying to keep up with a bountiful summer harvest while preparing new beds for the fall sprouts growing in the greenhouse. Tootie has been staying busy taking care of 100 happy egg-layers, and Frank is fighting the good fight to keep our farm office looking spic-and-span.

The guys continue to reach new goals and to take on new responsibilities on the farm. Sweating through tough tasks and extreme heat, they are proving that, not only will they not be defined by their disability, but they will excel and persevere where others would normally struggle. With the support of coaches that are trained to take a person-centered approach to tap into the passions and strengths of the employee, Josh is working towards a supervisory position on the farm, J-Rod just received a raise after his 2 year eval, James is working up to 4 days a week and just reached his 1 year benchmark, and Frank is getting ready to work his first Farmer’s Market.

At the Old School, people of all abilities work side-by-side, for competitive wages to grow together. Josh, J-Rod, Tootie, and Frank work alongside job coaches that are always pushing them towards complete independence on the farm. But, it’s not just employees with staff. The individuals are also working alongside farm managers, employees who are not receiving services, and volunteers; they teach school groups and lead tours, deliver produce and man the market stands.

And the setting could not be more “community-based”. With a farm-to-table restaurant and event space on site and a surrounding community that is both invested and supportive of the Old School’s mission, it has truly become a story worth sharing. And everyone is writing it together.

-David Scott, SE Outreach Coordinator