What Is Garden Ops?
Garden Ops explores the benefits of gardening for veterans. Some veterans may be interested in gardening but have never had the opportunity to try it.
In Garden Ops, veterans can start a new hobby that can positively affect their diet and exercise habits and improve their quality of life and physical health. This activity is offered at no cost to participants.
How Do I Participate?
Contact your local Extension agent to participate in Garden Ops for Veterans. Enjoy a year of learning and growing your own produce at no cost to participants. Discover the joy of growing a variety of vegetables. You might even earn bragging rights to the largest tomato of the season.
Gardening is a useful tool in horticulture therapy to improve one’s well-being. People who grow their own fruits and vegetables have healthier diets and get more exercise.
Having a garden may help veterans and their family members eat better, get more exercise, and improve their quality of life.
Who Is Eligible?
- Any veteran who has not planted a garden in the last two years or has never attempted gardening.
- The programs are offered in Colbert, Lauderdale, and Limestone Counties.
- Has a 4ʹ×8ʹ sunny space for two self-watering planting containers, such as EarthBoxes.
- Has access to a functional outdoor water spigot or other water source.
What Are the Goals?
- Improve ability to be physically active.
- Increase exposure to the outdoors.
- Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Enjoy gardening as a new hobby or potential source of income.
What to Expect?
- If eligible, a veteran will be paired with an Alabama Extension Master Gardener Volunteer, who will assist in planting a vegetable garden and being a mentor for one year.
- The garden year will involve two seasons—a spring planting and a fall planting.
- Two self-watering planting containers, such as EarthBoxes, will be provided for veterans to set up at their homes.
- Gardening supplies (soil, plants, tools, etc.) will be provided.
- Each month the Master Gardener will contact the veteran via his or her chosen method of communication (text, email, or phone) and arrange to have one site visit per month.
- Veterans may contact their Master Gardener mentor throughout the program to ask gardening questions.
For more information or to register, contact your local Alabama Extension agent.
- (256) 275-2172
- Limestone County
- (334) 329-1672
- Colbert and Lauderdale Counties
Sponsored by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama RC&D Councils
Chris Becker, Limestone County Extension Coordinator; and Lucy Edwards, Regional Extension Agent; both with Auburn University.
New January 2022, Garden Ops for Veterans, ANR-2857