March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Throughout the month, we’re excited to celebrate and share stories of people supported by S:US! We believe that with the right set of supports, people with intellectual/developmental disabilities can live in, work in, contribute to, and participate in the community.
Over the past year, S:US Urban Farms Director Mike Hollis has inspired many of us to be creative in our gardening pursuits and grow our plants indoors. This is how the S:US Urban Farms’ Potted Plant Project began. Residents from homes of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities were invited to choose an herb, flower, or vegetable to grow in a pot. Because the homes’ backyard gardens had a delayed start due to the pandemic, Mike took this opportunity to help cultivate budding gardeners and encourage their love of nature. S:US Urban Farms team ordered the seeds for requested plants and organized them with pots, soil, and written instructions, which were then dropped off at each participating home. Many residents and staff participated and we received wonderful feedback of how much they enjoyed caring for their plants.
Mary, a Bronx resident, shared, “We’re growing flowers, herbs, and lettuce. I like to have the decoration to make the backyard pretty and make people want to sit in the backyard. We’re making peppers also. I’m not a pepper person, but I will be happy to see what it looks like.”
Marvin, a Brooklyn resident, shared, “I help to grow the plants. I want the flowers to grow up – they’re yellow, red, and white. I keep water on the inside of the dirt. I like caring for them daily. I want no plant to die!”
Rafael, a Bronx resident, shared, “I’m growing flowers. I put water in my plant outside. It’s growing right now. I hope that it grows to the sky. It’s a sunflower and blue flowers. I hope that it will be nice and big and grow lots of seeds and get lots of sun.”
Raymond, a Brooklyn resident, shared, “I like growing a flower. I like everything about it! I water it so it will grow.”
Richard, a Brooklyn resident, shared, “I am helping with the plants. I like to do it. I fix the dirt, water them until they grow. It’s pretty good.”
Noel, a Brooklyn resident, shared, ”The plants are doing good. We have tomatoes in front, hot peppers, squash which are growing big, eggplants and sunflowers in the back. You can take the seeds out and grow more sunflowers! I will put the whole squash in the oven with butter and seasoning and cook it. It tastes so good! We’ll cook with the peppers and the eggplant. I like eggplant parmigiana. It’s the best.”
We’re grateful to the Urban Farms team for their creative inspiration in helping them cultivate plants and nurturing their gardening skills!