Reed’s Organic Farm Growing Valuable Work Skills with Y.A.L.E. School

Y.A.L.E. students are sowing the seeds of success.

Since 2021, students from our Northfield campus have had the chance to take part in a youth internship program at Reed’s Organic Farm in Egg Harbor. Reed’s is a regenerative farm, which means they not only use and grow organic materials, but run their farm ethically with organic practices, while giving special attention and protection to the ecosystem around them. The farm offers an animal sanctuary as well as educational and vocational programming.

At Reed’s, Y.A.L.E. students get to learn and develop competitive skills via garden-based learning and workforce development. Y.A.L.E. School has partnered with Reed’s to help students develop authentic work skills, practice social skills, and gain self-awareness, as well as learn how to be stewards of the environment, with real-world lessons on how to grow your own food and feed a community.

“Y.A.L.E. students assist us in seasonal tasks alongside the farm crew, and have also helped out in our market and kitchen,” says Melanie Reed, Programming Director at Reed’s Farm. It’s a partnership that she says has reaped mutual benefits. “In addition to their work ethic, Y.A.L.E. students have always impressed us with their artistic capabilities, unique interests, and sense of teamwork. They are always eager to lend a hand and learn about regenerative agriculture.”

The close partnership formed between Y.A.L.E. School and Reed’s has inspired the Northfield campus to give back to the farming program. The students and administration at the Northfield campus recently donated a small structure that Y.A.L.E. students constructed and furnished to Reed’s for the farm team to use as an educational space and workshop.

“Y.A.L.E. students have improved our workplace through the contributions they’ve made to the farm,” Melanie says. “We have been fortunate to receive generous donations from Y.A.L.E.’s carpentry program, and their students have built us tables for our seed starting. Y.A.L.E. students also design and print brochures for our farm to help spread our mission throughout the community.”

And at the end of the day, Melanie knows that the positive experiences Y.A.L.E. students learn at Reed’s help them prepare for the real world – and helps the community at large.

“It is important to us at Reed’s to help engage as many local students as possible, to help them become productive and self-sufficient young adults,” she says. “By working with Y.A.L.E. students we are hoping to contribute to a future full of people with compassion for the Earth and each other.”