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Horticulture Program  

The Horticulture Program at the Charles River Center is an innovative program that educates adults with developmental disabilities and autism to grow and tend organic produce and flowers. care for farm animals, and interact with the natural environment.

The Charles River Center's Horticulture Program also partners with Needham Community Farm in a once-a-week Mobile Market that brings fresh, local produce to low-income, food-insecure neighborhoods in Needham and educates adults with developmental disabilities and autism about growing organic produce.

The Horticulture Program is in the news!  Check out this feature on the Needham Channel:




Our initial Flower CSA offering sold out and ran from June 18 to October 28, 2019.  The program was a success, providing local, sustainably grown flowers to subscribers all season long and paid employment for individuals with developmental disabilities.


This Flower CSA is the result of a partnership between the Charles River Center Horticulture Program and the Needham Community Farm.




Established in 2015, to date over 100 individuals with developmental disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy have developed and strengthened transferable skills for future employment, and are gaining numerous physical and therapeutic benefits.

Mike Bolio, Horticulture Program Coordinator, has a certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Santa Cruz, California. Mike is committed to organic practices and is enthusiastic about the beneficial outcomes he sees for the individuals. Feel free to contact Mike at or 781-972-1095.