North Florida School of Special Education is a private, non-profit school for children and young adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. Students range in age from 6-22 years. The school also has a Post-graduate program designed for young adults between the ages of 22-35 years. Students have a variety of intellectual disabilities including Down Syndrome, Autism, traumatic brain injury, fetal alcohol syndrome, etc. Berry Good Farms, a division of NFSSE, started in 2010, with a small garden. Since that time, the farm has grown substantially, both in yield and capacity, as well as vision. The farm grows organic and hydroponic vegetables, herbs and fruit. The vision of Berry Good Farms is to provide a self-sustaining industry for students and post-graduates encompassing education, hands-on experience and compensated employment. Students and post-graduates will be trained in the field of horticulture, culinary arts and the production of agricultural goods. Berry Good Farms will provide a safe environment with meaningful work, allowing individuals to reach their maximum potential. Produce and culinary goods are marketed to restaurants, caterers, chefs and the local community. The Culinary Arts program at NFSSE works hand in hand with the farm, using fresh, seasonal produce to create healthy and nutritional meals for weekly lunch service and for special events. Due to the success of the horticulture and culinary arts program, our next expansion will be to purchase a food truck to be used as a mobile outreach program. The "farm to truck" mobile outreach would be a unique opportunity to create an additional facet of horticulture and culinary arts program promoting fresh, healthy foods servicing the community. The food truck project is two-fold in that it will provide additional vocational training opportunities for people with disabilities, as well as benefit the community with locally grown produce and healthy meals.
Project Showcase Proposal
We will have a full size facade that will resemble a food truck with window, awning, sample menu, living garden including vegetables and herbs from Berry Good Farms. We will also have marketing materials and sample food items. On site will be a newly hired chef consultant, program directors and student representatives (truck farmers), eagerly sharing the vision of the "farm to truck" project.
Project Showcase Requirements
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What city is your project based out of?
What sets your Project apart from what is currently available?
Several aspects make this mobile food truck project unique. Our truck farmers will not only have healthy lunch items, but also "fresh from the farm" vegetables, herbs and fruit available for purchase. Our "farm to truck" mobile outreach will exclusively utilize people with disabilities as employees. The mobile culinary team would offer homemade items to customers, such as soups, salads, wraps, smoothies and muffins. All of the menu selections would feature seasonal and freshly harvested items from Berry Good Farms. Lastly, the truck would feature a rooftop living garden with fresh herbs and vegetables at the ready for use in menu items.
Why are you and your team the best people on the planet to handle this project?
North Florida School of Special Education has served children and young adults with disabilities for 22 years. Those years of experience have made us the only private school in Jacksonville to expertly offer academics and vocational training, coupled with horticulture and culinary arts studies designed for people with disabilities. Since the creation of the farm and culinary programs, we have seen our students flourish learning gardening and culinary arts skills. We fully anticipate the "farm to truck" concept being embraced by the community. We have seen this repeatedly when our students work in the community with our numerous business partners throughout Jacksonville. Their abilities far outweigh their disabilities. The "farm to truck" project would showcase our students capabilities and their potential. The fruition of this project would bring added skill sets, greater independence to the student participants. The community will be better knowing that they are encouraging and supporting such a meaningful project that is changing lives.