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Grower Spotlight: Charles Drew Transition Center

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Grower Spotlight: Charles Drew Transition Center

Good things are growing in Detroit thanks to the AquaGrove growers at Charles Drew Transition Center. According to their latest reports, their AquaGrove unit and program continues to thrive and has proven to be successful over the last several years.

For those readers who have been following our blog, you may already be aware of Charles Drew Transition Center from our earlier post about their AquaGrove program back in 2018, when we announced our donation and partnership as a new addition to their premier school-based horticulture program.

Charles Drew Transition Center is a DPSCD (Detroit Public Schools Community District) school providing instruction that meets the needs of the special education adult learners 18-26 years of age. Their vision is to provide education that makes it possible for their students to acquire vocational and daily living skills that lead to employment and full inclusion into community life.  In addition to their vocational mission, The Drew Horticulture Program is a year-round market garden existing for the purpose of providing educational, vocational and life skills in a horticultural-based setting, while providing fresh and locally-grown produce for students, families, and the local community; they have been able to reach the community through their in-school farm stand, donations to local food pantries, and sales at Detroit’s Eastern Market, the largest historic public market district in the United States.

At the center of the school’s gardens and impressive developments is Michael Craig, Teacher of the Cognitively Impaired/Horticulture Program Instructor. Michael has been recognized for his accomplishments and received multiple awards including Sodexo Foundation/National School Boards Association 2021 Grand Prize Magna Award, SetSeg Foundation/Michigan Association of School Boards 2021 Education Excellence Award, 2015 Educator of the Year Award by the Michigan Lottery’s Excellence in Education Program, and he has been a finalist for the 2015-16 Michigan Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year Award.

With an award-winning track record in education, it should come as no surprise that Michael’s AquaGrove program is booming. According to his latest update regarding AquaGrove, Michael reported:

“All is great with our Aquaponics unit (AquaGrove); everything is functioning as it should, and the pics attached (see above) show our early Serrano Peppers in action! From here, they will be transferred into our two Dutch Bucket Systems in our hoophouse… and will be harvested from there for our client - the Detroit Salsa Company.”

The report continued with their future plans for the system; once the peppers are transferred, they will begin growing a new batch of romaine lettuce, experimenting with larger plugs to produce even bigger heads of lettuce.

AquaGrove is pleased to have Charles Drew Transition Center as a partner in learning and growing in aquaponics. We look forward to sharing more about their success with AquaGrove, as well as their valuable horticulture and educational programs.