● Access to fresh fruits and vegetables
● Food quality
● Food insecurity
● Labor training
● and many more, similar to urban food deserts
Many of these issues mirror questions faced by military families, who may be isolated from alternatives to commissary grocery outlets. Commissaries 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 installation
- improve prospects for employment and opportunity after separation
- engage both serving personnel and their dependents
Participants learn to grow fruits and vegetables indoors that are consumed locally, either within the institution or in the surrounding community, depending on local circumstances.
Many talented spouses and other family members 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.
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 military.
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.
Scalability and Sustainability
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. Thus 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
Equipment can be purchased or leased with option to buy.
Gardening projects can make a minimal initial investment and grow by reinvestment of proceeds.
Labor can be at nominal rates plus participation in surplus or food sharing.
Space may be available on-base, especially where downsizing has resulted in unused floorspace.
GOE has developed a a comprehensive startup budget planning procedure with many options.
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
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.
— Michael Twiggs founder