● Access to fresh fruits and vegetables
● Food quality
● Food insecurity
● Social engagement
● and many more, similar to urban food deserts
Many of these issues mirror questions faced by older persons and households, who may be isolated from alternatives to the best nutrition, or who may find themselves disengaged from their family, friends and neighbors. Or they might just want greater diversity of foodstuffs, such as ethnically popular items. Institutional residences by their nature are not designed to handle the diversity of foods available in the larger world.
- improve nutrition and create economic activity within the residence
- increase social engagement by residence in truly productive activities that are never busy work
- forge new relationships with life-affirming purpose
Participants learn to grow fruits and vegetables indoors that are consumed locally, either within the residence or in the surrounding community, depending on local circumstances. The organization might also reach out to the wider community by participating in farmers markets, local fairs, etc.
Many talented residents may find an outlet for those talents in improving access and diversity of nutrition by engaging in small scale agriculture, especially in regions with a long winter. Depending on the local seasonality, an indoor project may complement outdoor cultivation in warm seasons, with added recreational benefit.
Seasonality is not a concern, and the program complements other local efforts to grow fresh, local, nutritious produce. Locally grown food is a sustainable program and greatly reduces the logistical burden on the facility.
Participants learn to grow fruits and vegetables that are consumed locally, and these skills are transferable to the outside economy. A major program goal is green jobs for skilled workers. The unique thing about this program is the intentional development of both individual and communal components of the training program. Many who participate in the program may opt to pursue local agriculture as a career. Small business funding for entrepreneurs is available for program participants with knowledge and experience in indoor agriculture.
Structured learning experiences teach the science, technologies, engineering, agriculture and math (STEAM) required to plant, nurture, grow and harvest fresh leafy greens, herbs and microgreens from Seed to Table. Upon their release, former service personnel and/or dependents are employable by the outside component of the program with benefits and market wages for green jobs. Successful completion of the training program inside qualifies participants for entry level jobs or business opportunities outside.
In each instance, the program is taught cooperatively by local instructors with support from GOE experts and advisors. Core curriculum is licensed by GOE and may be supplemented by local instructors for best effect.
Participating in an on-base farm or a local farming collaborative can be a valuable social outlet for military families. The organization and management of the enterprise can be at the family or community level; this is a flexible program.
Each of the plans is highly scalable. "Family farms" can become part of a collaborative in which different growers specialize in a few crops. All are part of an information system that takes orders and grows to specification, not on speculation. This a variety of seasonal and year round vegetables can be available.
Income is retained and spent locally which benefits local retail and service businesses, which is a likely benefit to the public opinion of the military installation.
Budgeting and Finance
The specifics of budgeting and finance vary greatly from one organization to another.
Budgets and financing are important considerations. In this case, initial cost can be quite low.
Equipment can be purchased or leased with option to buy.
Gardening projects can make a minimal initial investment and grow by reinvestment of proceeds.
Participating esidents can be paid from actual or virtual profit. Labor can be at nominal rates plus participation in surplus or food sharing.
Space may be available on site, whether purpose-built or by conversion of floorspace.
All these are highly variable. GOE has developed a a comprehensive, configurable startup budget planning procedure with many options.
When I returned to college in 2011, my perspective was very different from my classmates. As a seasoned IT professional with over 40 years experience, I was more concerned about the problems I wanted to solve than what I wanted to be or do for a living upon graduation.
In 2013, I graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies. The interdisciplinary learning experience included related Sciences, Technologies, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics (STE@M). This led to the creation of Garden of Eden Urban Farming, first as a community development course and later as a consulting firm.
Life began to suggest a model focused on the needs of older communities, so we've adapted our services to address some of those needs.
— Michael Twiggs founder
How to Grow Microgreens - Start to Finish https://youtu.be/dtvuMNVLISo
Grow Fodder in Seven Days - https://youtu.be/b2XYLEliMhQ
Leafy Greens/Herbs: Leafy Green Machine https://youtu.be/l0UX6uo-4_8