US (OH): Aquaponics farm employs adults with disabilities

An unconventional farm is helping its’ westside community in a unique way.

o2 Urban Farms uses aquaponics to grow fresh lettuce. It’s produce with a purpose. The farm employs adults with developmental disabilities to assist in germinating, transplanting and harvesting the produce at its’ Cheviot facility.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” Kevin Potts, executive director of the Ken Anderson Alliance, said.

Urban Farms is working in partnership with the Ken Anderson Alliance while utilizing the facility space provided by Vineyard Westside.

“We pay our employees ten dollars an hour and we provide them a very flexible schedule and we give them the ability to learn the skills here that make them marketable in other industries if they want to go out,” Potts said.

“It’s a controlled environment so for adults with disabilities, there’s a lot of things we have to keep in mind,” Potts said. “Here for access to farming and agriculture, this is something where individuals can come in 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We don’t have to worry about the weather outside. It’s all climate controlled. We can provide access to wheelchairs for different levels of racks for harvesting and it gives us a really good environment where we can focus on skills at the pace the individual is able to keep up with so that we can prepare them appropriately.”

Read more at WKRC (Kathryn Robinson)

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