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Partnership blooming at Old Trail

5/23/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

BATH — Old Trail School has partnered with Hattie Larlham on Hattie’s Gardens, a garden plot that will expand employment for people with disabilities while also educating Old Trail School students about sustainable farming. Students at the private school will also get to eat foods grown in the garden in their school lunches, and local restaurants will be able to purchase the vegetables, according to Hattie Larlham officials.

During a ceremony May 16, Old Trail and Hattie Larlham officials kicked off the project with local dignitaries. John Hercules, 20, of Green, who is the first employee of the new endeavor, is shown at right as he serves guests.

Pictured above, from left, during the garden groundbreaking, are Mike Weinhardt, president of the Hattie Larlham Board of Directors; Hattie Larlham CEO Dennis Allen; Summit County Executive Russ Pry; lead gardener Henry; Debbie Yandala, director of the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP); Stan Austin, CVNP superintendent; and Old Trail Head of School John Farber.

Among those who attended the special event were Rory O’Neil, who is shown below with Farber and Teresa Davey, president of the Old Trail Parents Association.

“[Hattie’s Gardens] is going to become an elaborate part of our curriculum at Old Trail School, and kids are going to have all kinds of opportunities to take working on a farm and applying it to the classroom,” Farber said. The students will work directly with the Hattie Larlham staff to learn about sustainable gardening and healthy eating. Hattie’s Gardens will compost food scraps from the Old Trail School dining room for use in the gardens, forming a sustainable loop.

This is the second Hattie’s Gardens location in Bath. Another one was started in 2011 at Crown Point Ecology Center.

— By Kathleen Folkerth

Photos: Ken Crisafi

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