Updated: Jul 17, 2022
Why a sensory garden?
Just about everywhere place you go, you are asked “not to touch" and during
the COVID pandemic, that has never been more important. While we generally
encourage people not to touch our restaurant-quality produce, we realize the
importance and benefits of nature and a sensory garden.
People with autism can be especially sensitive to noises and touch. Repetitive movements and hyperactivity are other common symptoms of autism. Sensory gardens designed with plants that have a heightened appeal to the senses - smell, touch, hearing, taste and sight - can help people with autism slow down and focus, and provide opportunities to engage the senses in ways that are less challenging than those presented by interacting with other people. Visitors to the sensory garden are encouraged to listen, smell, hear and touch the plants (be sure to ask Farmer Tucker which plants can be tasted before you start nibbling).
In 2021, the Windy City Lions Club helped Urban Autism Solutions’ Growing Solutions
Farm fulfill our goal of creating a sensory garden. In 2022, NEXT for AUTISM provided
funding to help the garden expand and increase the number of plants and flowers
guests could enjoy. The Windy City Lions came back out to the farm to help plant the
palate of plants to engage the senses.
Stop by and visit the sensory garden and be sure to pick up some farm fresh produce
Wednesdays 10 am – 1pm and Fridays 2 pm – 5 pm at our Growing Solutions Farm
(2200 W. Campbell Park Drive).
Click the video below to take a tour of this special garden with UAS communications director and sensory garden designer, Sharon Parmet.
L to R: Engaging the senses. Mom samples some catmint (which smells like mint!); entrance to the GSF Sensory Garden; volunteers from Windy City Club pause after putting planting in more than 150 plants! Thank you!; Swallowtail on butterfly weed; the famous artemisia/silver cat amidst salvia and foxgloves; everybody's favorite, echinacea (but in a beautiful orange color).
“Any garden is really a sensory garden because it stimulates all your senses, but in the sensory garden, we take that a step further by using plants that really appeal to those senses,” said Tucker Kelly, lead grower at UAS’ Growing Solutions Farm. “Except for taste – the rest of the farm takes care of taste.”