The cold weather isn’t slowing down the growth at the Dorothy Rose Horticulture Center. This fall, on average more than 60 people participated in horticulture classes each week, closing out one of the most successful years for the program yet that saw even greater participation in the spring and summer. The consistent connection to nature has made life-changing differences for participants not only in teaching life skills and responsibility, but also in the therapeutic outlet it provides.

The power of your support of the horticulture program is clearly seen in people like Sharon, whose transformative journey we recently shared with you this past holiday season. Sharon refused to do many of the horticulture activities when she first started and was especially averse to getting her hands dirty.

But today she can be found planting seeds, putting together floral arrangements, weeding, harvesting or even working as a salesperson at the annual spring sale.

“I want to shout from a mountaintop how much of a rockstar Sharon is so everyone can know,” said Jackie Kenyon, horticulture specialist. “She has changed so much since she first started and just brings a positive attitude every day and wants to help however she can.”

Sharon’s story is not unique to the program as many of the participants have blossomed as they’ve learned to grow their own food, care for plants and flowers, and even get experience in sales and business.

With your ongoing support in this growing program, we are excited to work towards launching an on-site farm stand in 2022 where horticulture students can sell the plants, herbs, flowers and vegetables they grow to the community. Early ideas for a stand would include a location right outside the Little City art studio where commuters on Algonquin Road could see the offerings.

With participation and interest in the horticulture program at an all-time high, Horticulture Manager Wayne Johnson said there just needs to be enough staff and students to manage the stand while classes continue throughout the week. The work toward that goal has already started.

“There is not a lot of down time in horticulture,” Wayne said. “It’s all planting now. We have over 4,000 seeds and we are going to start planting to get ready for the spring sale. We are cleaning up the garden and getting the new beds ready for the spring. There’s always work going on.”

Your generous gift today will go far in helping launch an on-site farm stand to help advance the skills of those in the program and provide them the best opportunity to continue to grow and reach their unique potential. Thank You!