For Immediate Release
LITTLE ROCK (May 1, 2017) – Taziki’s Mediterranean Café in Arkansas will launch the HOPE Project, (“Herbs Offering Personal Enrichment”), a partnership with ACCESS to teach individuals with special needs all aspects of the herb business, including transferable skills that will prepare them for future job opportunities.
Under the guidance of the ACCESS horticulture program ACCESS Academy students and young adults in the ACCESS Life program will have the opportunity to grow herbs using the organization’s HydroCycle Vertical Aeroponic Systems. This program launches at a time when ACCESS is looking to expand its already successful horticulture program beyond just flowers and plants. Herbs grown through the program will then be used inside Taziki’s restaurants to provide the flavors customers enjoy from the restaurant’s Mediterranean-style foods. This partnership will be the first of its kind implemented in the state of Arkansas.
“Taziki’s is proud to be the first restaurant partnering with the ACCESS to utilize the herbs at our restaurants,” said Jim Keet, resident and CEO of Taziki’s Mediterranean Café. “The herbs will first be used by our Cantrell Road location, with plans to expand to other locations at a later date.”
Individuals at ACCESS will be planting basil, rosemary, cilantro and oregano on site using a soil-less aeroponic growing system, which allows plants to grow 30-50 percent faster than in traditional soil. This allows Taziki’s the ability to use locally-sourced, freshly grown herbs in its cuisine.
“Students and young adults with developmental delays and language and learning disabilities will have opportunities to utilize the ACCESS horticulture program in an expanded capacity” said Tammy Simmons, executive director of ACCESS. “Individuals with special needs have the same desire to find independence and purpose as anyone else. This partnership provides vocational training opportunities to prepare them for success in the work force while giving local businesses the chance to invest in their community. It’s a win-win for both ACCESS and Taziki’s. ”
The HOPE Project began several years ago as a partnership with Birmingham, Alabama’s Shelby County schools when Taziki’s founder, Keith Richards, decided to get more involved with special needs education. Richard’s restaurants had been employing special needs individuals, but he realized there was also a need for learning opportunities while still in school. When he learned of the horticulture program at one of the schools in Birmingham involving herbs, he developed HOPE.
About Taziki’s Mediterranean Café
Taziki’s Mediterranean Café is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama and currently has 72 locations. The recipes are all made fresh and inspired by Mediterranean cuisine. The menu features freshly grilled meats, original sauces and healthy side dishes. Taziki’s is open for lunch and dinner, offers take-out as well as catering for events large and small. Visit Tazikiscafe.com for more information. Follow events and promotions on Twitter- @TazikisCantrell Instagram- @tazikisarkansas and on Facebook- Taziki’s Cantrell.
ACCESS® is a 501c3 nonprofit offering evaluation services, full-time education, therapy, training and activities for individuals with disabilities. Founded in 1994, the center comprises ACCESS Early Childhood Program, ACCESS Academy, ACCESS Therapy, ACCESS Academic Therapy (specialized tutoring), ACCESS Life, Project SEARCH® and the ACCESS Evaluation and Resource Center. ACCESS has two locations in Little Rock Arkansas: ACCESS Stella Boyle Smith Early Childhood Campus at 10618 Breckenridge Drive and ACCESS Academy and Young Adult Campus at 1500 North Mississippi Street. Visit AccessGroupInc.org for more information about the programs and services offered at ACCESS.