Spirit Farm School Days
Teens can get lost within their neighborhoods or schools and sometimes wind up turning down a road that leads to further confusion. Targeted to kids age 13-17 identified as ‘at-risk’, “Teen Ventures” teaches techniques used in wilderness outings and camping at Spirit Farm that’s thought processes can be transferred to their real world environment including survival psychology and the will to live. Activities include identifying edible and useful plants, wildlife tracking, building a shelter, building a fire, navigation, learning how not to get lost and signaling skills to help them be found. Activities are intended to build teamwork, responsibility, life skills, leadership development and problem solving that can be transferred to their daily lives.
Clients and residents of community organizations come to Spirit Farm to learn basic vegetable gardening skills including soil preparation, seeding, nurturing the garden through one seasonal growth cycle, harvesting and then using the produce in a prepared meal. Following the on-site gardening program, a “Harmony Garden” is started by clients and residents at their community organization sites with support from both the Institute and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS.) Program activities stress teamwork, healthy nutrition, physical exercise and job development skills.
The first Harmony Garden was planted at the Council of Aging in Osceola County where clients have taken ownership of the garden and harvested vegetables are prepared in lunch menus. With a grant from Captain Planet, the Harmony Institute is now assisting Sunnyside Village in the creation of their own garden.