The Viscardi Center and Smile Farms partner to launch an agricultural program for people with disabilities.
On July 13, The Viscardi Center held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the launch of its newest initiative: Smile Farms at The Viscardi Center. This growing partnership with Smile Farms — a nonprofit organization that provides adults with developmental disabilities meaningful work opportunities in agricultural settings — brings a vegetable garden to the Viscardi campus in Albertson, New York. A total of eight raised garden beds, consisting of six hydroponic planting beds and two traditional soil planting beds, have been installed in an effort to establish training and paid employment for 10 students in Viscardi’s Youth Transition Services program.
John D. Kemp, The Viscardi Center President & CEO, and Jim McCann, Chairman of Smile Farms and Founder of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, kicked off the program alongside staff, students, and several local elected officials, including North Hempstead Councilman Peter Zuckerman, Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso, and Town Clerk Wayne Wink.
Smile Farms at The Viscardi Center offers a true farm-to-table work experience for students, whose responsibilities include planting, cultivating, and harvesting produce to be sold at the student-run farmer’s market or served in Café Viscardi located on campus.
About The Viscardi Center
Founded by Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who served as disability advisor to eight U.S. Presidents and became one of the world’s leading advocates, The Viscardi Center educates, employs and empowers people with disabilities. It provides K-12 education, school-to-work youth transition services, vocational training, career counseling and employment placement, assistive technology, and adapted driver education to children, adolescents, and adults with a wide variety of disabilities. The Viscardi Center also assists businesses in diversifying their workforces, and developing and advancing disability inclusive cultures in their workplaces.