This spring, Massaro Community Farm will welcome back clients of Marrakech, Inc., who will be weeding, watering and harvesting vegetables in a 20’ x 20’ plot behind the hoop houses at the farm. These activities represent valuable life and vocational skills Marrakech strives to provide to its consumers so they can be active and contributing members of society.
Individuals from numerous program areas at Marrakech have taken part in tending the garden at Massaro; however, most recently, consumers enrolled in the Young Adult Services (YAS) program have been involved. YAS is a recovery-oriented, transitional residency program designed to help young adults achieve independence and stability in the community. In addition to growing the vegetables, consumers are also expected to gain a general understanding of their nutritional value and prepare dishes using the vegetables they’ve harvested. Produce that is not consumed by YAS consumers is often shared with Marrakech’s Village Café, a fully functioning café and catering business operated on Whalley Avenue, which also serves as a food service training program for consumers of Marrakech.
In their plot at the farm, Marrakech gardeners have grown tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, pumpkins and herbs. They especially enjoy watering and harvesting, and say eggplant, cucumbers and peppers are among their favorite vegetables. Dishes prepared by the gardeners have included pasta with tomato and basil, eggplant parmesan, tomato basil pizza and zucchini bread.
“My favorite memory of the garden is listening to the group singing through the forest,” says gardening participant Karin.
Jay Korman, Special Projects Coordinator at Marrakech, first introduced their clients to the farm in 2010. Korman describes the unique learning experience offered by having members garden at the farm that is unlike that of other settings. “It’s quiet,” Korman says, “and they’re not only learning life skills, these folks are getting to know each other in a new way.”
Founded in 1971, Marrakech established the first halfway house in Connecticut for women with mental retardation. Since then they have continued developing programs and services throughout the State of Connecticut encompassing support to people with challenging behaviors, families with complex needs, youth who are at risk, and people without disabilities who are unemployed and underemployed. We congratulate Marrakech on their valuable work in the community, and look forward to their ongoing engagement at the farm. To learn more about Marrakech visit their website, www.marrakeckinc.org.
Massaro Community Farm is a non-profit farm on a 57-acre parcel of land in Woodbridge, Connecticut, 15 minutes northwest of New Haven. The farm is home to a 150-member CSA. The farm also includes a nature trail and conducts numerous educational programs and seasonal events. Our mission is to keep farming, feed people, and build community. Our vision is to enhance the quality of life for generations to come. Our full programming calendar and details can be found at www.massarofarm.org.