INMED Partnerships for Children announced that Loudoun County, VA, will be one of the first US locations for its international, award-winning INMED Aquaponics program. INMED has partnered with the Paxton Trust to construct an educational aquaponics system with a greenhouse and learning center on the Paxton Campus in Leesburg.
The initiative will serve children and youth in need—including those living in low-income environments, those with disabilities and conditions such as autism, and those experiencing mental health challenges—through vocational training in the burgeoning field of adaptive agriculture. INMED Aquaponics is a holistic program that involves hands-on technical training as well as business and financial planning for those interested in launching agro-enterprises. There also will be field visits for younger children to learn about ecology, nutrition, biology, agriculture and the environment.
Around the world, INMED has adapted aquaponics into an innovative, simplified package for individuals with disabilities and other populations vulnerable to destructive climate change events. INMED’s Education Center on the Paxton Campus plans to collaborate with other INMED Aquaponics programs globally, especially in South Africa.
“As the mother of a child with autism, I can attest to the lack of meaningful skills development opportunities for this community,” says Jennifer Smith, INMED’s US Programs Director and founder of several programs for children with disabilities. “With INMED Aquaponics, teens on the autism spectrum, as well as other youth facing challenges, will have greater opportunities for economic independence through employment in the agriculture sector and related fields—and with training and support to launch their own businesses.”
“INMED Aquaponics has been transformational for under-served populations around the world, and it will be a real game-changer for our autism and special needs community here in Loudoun,” adds Smith.
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