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Pay it Forward: Special Growers, a special place for young adults

A place for special needs adults to work

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — When going out to eat, we rarely think about where our food comes from.  We rarely think about the people involved in getting us the food.

It takes all kinds of people to put food on our tables and there's one special place in Blount County that has some 'Special Growers'.  

"It's an amazing place!" exclaims garden manager Maria Laughlin.

Special Growers is a non-profit herb farm that employs over 75 special needs adults who work to help local restaurants provide fresh herbs for their meals.

Credit: wbir

These men and women show up for work every day building, planting, watering and harvesting these 57 raised beds.

The founder of Special Growers is a parent to a special needs kid and told us what this place does for these young men and women.

"By providing job training and employment we give them a stepping point out of high school," he said. 

Credit: wbir

This place is more than a place of work, but a place where friendships grow with each passing day.

"I keep telling my mom and dad I want to keep doing this because it helps me a lot.  It encourages me to have patience with myself, communicate with people and friends. Yeah... it's like God really gave me a really good place to go," Emily Knapp said.