Greens Do Good
The daily structure and personal fulfillment of a job well done is an integral part of life—one that is just as essential for individuals with autism as it is for any other adult. Yet, nearly half of 25-year-olds with autism have never held a paying job. A grant from Someone Else’s Child will support our efforts to provide crucial vocational training and meaningful employment opportunities for teens and adults with autism.
Someone Else’s Child (SEC) is committed to serving underrepresented children and teens by sponsoring programs and initiatives to support and empower their lives. Working throughout the USA and in Africa, SEC believes that it is the responsibility of a community to ensure the well-being and future success of every child. With an emphasis on education, literacy, children with disabilities and economic justice, SEC looks to break the cycle of inequality through innovative approaches that offer meaningful opportunities for vulnerable children and teens.
“We are so thankful to receive this grant from Someone Else’s Child and the recognition of the work we’re doing to provide job training and valuable experiences for individuals with autism,” explains Chantelle Walker, CEO, REED Autism Services. “Our goal is to assist students in furthering their education, help them to develop essential skills, and ease the transition between high school and employment.”
The Greens Do Good farming method allows for four-season growing across a smaller footprint than most traditional farms, using less water and energy and minimizing the impact on the environment. Each day brings a new crop of basil, baby kale, butterhead lettuce, and over 20 varieties of microgreens—all hand-picked and packed at the height of freshness, then sold to local restaurants, country clubs, supermarkets, food service providers, and through home delivery.
Greens Do Good is a wholly owned subsidiary of REED Next.
Learn more at greensdogood.com.
GREENS DO GOOD PARTNERS WITH THE BERGEN COUNTY FOOD SECURITY TASK FORCE TO PROVIDE SURPLUS PRODUCE TO SUPPORT FAMILIES IN NEED
Contact: Storm Wyche, Deputy Director of Communications and Policy
Bergen County Board of Commissioners
Phone: 201.336.6537 Mobile: 862.202.2859
Hackensack, NJ — Greens Do Good, a four-season hydroponic vertical farm in Hackensack, NJ part of Reed Next, and the Bergen County Food Security Task Force have formed a partnership to ensure Bergen County residents have access to healthy food options during the pandemic and beyond.
Yesterday marked the first of a recurring monthly donation from Greens Do Good, an organization that employs adults with autism, of 160 heads of fresh lettuce to the Saint Vincent de Paul food pantry at the Holy Trinity Church in Hackensack. The food pantry serves approximately 150 families on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month.
This donation is a result of a 2021 initiative of the Bergen County Food Security Task Force, which is working to increase the quantity of healthy and fresh foods available at local food pantries. In July 2020, Commissioner Tracy Zur and the County Executive Jim Tedesco’s Office, along with leadership from local nonprofits and key representatives from across the county who manage food pantries and local meal distribution efforts daily, launched the Bergen County Food Security Task Force. The Task Force is charged with devising new solutions to continuously address the levels of food insecurity across Bergen County and keep local pantries and food distribution efforts stocked.
“We are thrilled that we can support the critical work being done by the Bergen County Food Security Task Force,” says Director of Operations, Jennifer Faust of Greens Do Good. “Our mission is to transform the way our local community sources healthy produce by providing the freshest ingredients in a sustainable and socially responsible way,” adds Lisa Goldstein, Director of Sales.
Although Bergen County has over 80 pantries and emergency food providers across the county, most were previously unable to distribute perishable items, meaning most struggling families have been living off nonperishables high in starches, sodium, and sugar. After a donation of refrigerators and freezers from the County of Bergen, many pantries are now equipped to accept fresh donations. “Greens Do Good’s recurring donation of fresh lettuce to the Saint Vincent de Paul Food Pantry will have a tremendous impact on the families who rely on donated food every week” said Commissioner Vice Chairwoman Tracy Silna Zur. “This is an important step in bringing fresh, nutritious foods into our pantries to avoid inadvertently causing health problems such as diabetes and hypertension for the next generation.”
Adds Zur, “Bergen County is seeing a 71% increase in food insecurity, meaning that over 103,000 people in Bergen County do not know where their next meal is coming from. We all must join the fight against food insecurity, and do what we can to provide nutritious foods to our neighbors in need.”
For more information about the Food Security Task Force, co.bergen.nj.us/foodsecurity or email BCFoodTaskForce2020@gmail.com.
REED Next is a registered 501c3 supporting individuals with autism 21 and older. Greens Do Good is funded in part by a grant from the Special Child Health and Austism Registry, New Jersey Department of Health. For more information, go to GreensdoGood.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The School Transition and Employment Program for Student Success (STEPSS), a new 18- to 21-yearold transition program offered by Ridgewood Public Schools, has partnered with Greens Do Good, a local hydroponic farm, for their first community internship experience. Through this collaboration, STEPSS students help maintain and organize crops, package products, and take inventory of seeds, but more importantly they are developing life skills and hands-on experience that will lay the foundation for future independence.
Greens Do Good, located in Hackensack, not only aims to grow healthy produce in a sustainable and socially responsible way, but they also donate 100 percent of their proceeds to REED Next, a nonprofit organization supporting adults with autism. Peter Ban, a parent who has known staff at the REED Foundation for some time, made the introduction that established this partnership with Greens Do Good.
What makes the experience at Greens Do Good so unique is that our students are working alongside the staff and performing the same duties that contribute to the operation of the farm. It is also a refreshing option for students who have an interest in agriculture. The farm manager has years of ABA experience as a one-to-one instructor at REED Academy, and the other farm techs are products of our robust internship with Ramapo College.
“We are passionate about more than just growing high quality produce,” said Jen Faust, director of communications at Greens Do Good. “We are a diverse, supportive, urban environment providing adults with autism a sense of purpose, paid employment, and meaningful participation in the community.”
The goal of STEPSS is to prepare students who have met state graduation requirements with the necessary skills and support that will enable them to accomplish personal goals, obtain employment, and live independently as active members of their community. The program has an individualized instructional component which includes academic support, as well as life skills and career readiness. The community based instruction model provides students with the tools to manage real life settings and situations. The final component is the internship where students engage in experiential learning in a work setting, preparing them to transition to employment and independence.
“Internships educate both the students and their community. When people develop relationships with our students and see their potential, they become advocates and natural supports. This impacts the culture and creates opportunities for individuals with special needs,” said Michael Kilcullen, transition coordinator.
Establishing relationships with organizations that share our vision requires a collaborative effort. Community connections, such as the one with Greens Do Good, are mutually beneficial, and STEPSS looks forward to building lasting partnerships that will help the students successfully transition into adulthood. For more information about STEPSS, contact Michael Kilcullen, transition coordinator at mkilcullen@ ridgewood.k12.nj.us.
STEPSS students help maintain and organize crops, package products, and take inventory of seeds, but more importantly they are developing life skills and hands-on experiences. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHARLENE LABENDA
Greens Do Good provides Structured Learning Experiences (SLE) for teens and young adults to explore and learn about various jobs
One of the leading issues facing adults with autism is the lack of employment options. In fact, nearly half of 25-year-olds with autism have never held a paying job.
With the right support, these adults can become valued workers and contributing members of their community. Greens Do Good, a hydroponic, vertical farm, in Hackensack, NJ, is doing its part to help change that.
The “Greens Work” job sampling program will allow teens and young adults with autism to intern at the farm and engage in a variety of roles related to hydroponic farming including maintenance and cleaning, seeding, planting, harvesting, and packaging. The opportunity is available to local school districts with autism related programs, as well as private schools serving individuals with autism. The Greens Do Good program aligns with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards.
“Greens Do Good opens up a unique vocational opportunity outside of traditional SLE programs, providing ‘green collar’ job training and valuable experiences for individuals with autism,” explains Chantelle Walker. “Our goal is to assist students in furthering their education, help them to develop essential skills, and ease the transition between high school and employment.”
The Green Greens Do Good farming method allows for four-season growing across a smaller footprint than most traditional farms, using less water and energy and minimizing the impact to the environment. Each day brings a new crop of basil, baby kale, butterhead lettuce, and over 20 varieties of microgreens—hand-picked and packed at the height of freshness, then sold to local restaurants, country clubs, supermarkets, food service providers, and through home delivery.
To learn more about Greens Do Good and the “Greens Work” program, please contact Jen Faust at email@example.com.