Veterans Community Micro-Farm Project
Palm Beach County Library System, Fla.
In late 2018, the Palm Beach County Library System formed a collaboration with Community Faith Outreach Ministries, PBC Cooperative Extension Office of Agriculture Economic Development and the Quantum Foundation to build a micro-farm community container garden to provide produce distributions to the residents of two homeless veteran facilities.
The large open field surrounding the West Boca Branch Library inspired Community Faith Outreach Ministries to develop a collaborative plan to design a micro-farm to provide fresh vegetables for two homeless veteran facilities. A Quantum Foundation grant provided funding for pots, soil and ground cover. The PBC Cooperative Extension Office of Agriculture Economic Development provided the seedlings. Volunteers from Soldiers’ Angels & Recovery First installed the farm on Veterans Day 2018.
Key Elements of Innovation
This project is part of a Veteran’s Administration initiative, “Whole Health for Life,” which encourages a holistic self-empowerment approach to health, and is designed to promote healthy eating and quality of life improvement through farming. Branch staff have organized events such as “Community Garden: Whole Health Intergenerational Nutrition Education (WHINE)” to help attendees incorporate “whole health” elements into their own lives.
Fresh produce has been provided to two homeless veteran facilities and tours of the garden and classes were provided for all ages, attracting a total of 37 individuals. Another series of activities is being organized, and based on the results of the first bounty, some changes are expected to the types of vegetables grown next season. This project has piqued the interest of several library patrons, who have volunteered to work on the mini-farm and, as a result, have built closer relationships with all partners involved.