Rowan teams with community gardens to create inclusive spaces for people with disabilities


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Rowan University is partnering with community gardens to give people with disabilities a place to help them develop a green thumb.

There are seven partner gardens in Camden, Gloucester and Atlantic Counties that are making inclusion a priority.

Rowan professor Dr. Leslie Spencer, the program's principal investigator, said experts will be there to guide people with physical or developmental disabilities every step of the way

"They can grow beans, squash, tomatoes. They can grow herbs, lettuces, kale," she said. "That's kind of the beauty of having a community garden plot is that in your plot, you can grow whatever you'd like."

Spencer said some of the things the gardens are doing to make them more inclusive is removing loud wind chimes or big spinning decorations that might intimidate people on the autism spectrum, making gardens more wheelchair accessible, and putting up more signs with symbols for those who struggle to read.

The program is funded by a $250,000 grant from the state's Department of Human Services.

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