Hattie’s Garden is a sustainable agriculture garden that grows chemical-free produce. The program is also a Hattie Larlham vocational program for adults with developmental disabilities.
Employees with developmental disabilities work with Hattie Larlham job coaches at Hattie's Gardens to learn gardening skills, such as proper tool use and safety, soil preparation, tilling and digging, greenhouse watering and care, seedling care, weeding and harvesting fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. Employees also assist selling the produce to the public. The benefits of a healthy diet and the importance of harvesting crops at their peakl are part of the program.
In 2011, Hattie Larlham partnered with Crown Point Ecology Center and the County of Summit Developmental Disabilities Board to plant the first Hattie’s Gardens, which is located at the Crown Point Ecology Center. The garden employs seven people with developmental disabilities and their job coaches. Hattie’s Gardens also maintains a flock of 20 free-range, laying hens. These hens produce eggs that are collected and packaged in cartons for sale with the produce at Hattie’s Gardens.
In 2013, another Hattie’s Gardens was planted at Old Trail School in Bath, Ohio, three miles from the first location. Hattie Larlham’s partnership with Old Trail School and the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park expands employment for people with developmental disabilities as well as educates Old Trail School students about sustainable gardening and the benefits of healthy nutrition.
Hattie's Gardens adheres to sustainable growing practices, including crop rotation to prevent soil depletion, composting, the use of beneficial insects to manage insect populations that damage crops, spreading mulches to suppress weeds and using disease-resistant cultivators.
Hattie’s Gardens is part of the sustainable vision of Northeast Ohio:
Produce grown and harvested at Hattie’s Gardens is sold to community outlets, including Hattie’s Cafés & Gifts, the Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities and local farmers’ markets. If you own or work for a farmers' market, restaurant or specialty grocery store in the greater Akron, Ohio, area and would like to learn more about carrying sustainable produce from Hattie's Gardens, please contact Hattie Larlham. Produce is also available for employees and donated to local food banks.
Dotty Grexa, vice president, vocational and enterprise services, joined the Hattie Larlham executive team in Oct. 2007. Prior to her promotion, Grexa served as a Hattie Larlham consultant, where she developed and implemented...