Garden of Eden Urban Farming
Active duty, veterans, dependents...
Indoor Gardening for Commissary and Home
Hydroponics for Military Installations, Organizations


Common problems and challenges in military communities nationwide include the following:
● Access to fresh fruits and vegetables
● Food quality
● Food insecurity
● Underemployment
● Dependency
● 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.


The Inside/Outside program is designed to
  • 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.

Why hydroponics?

NO SUN. NO SOIL. NO PROBLEM: Indoor agriculture, using hydroponics, is one answer to a complex set of problems. It is an important part of a sustainable long-term solution. It can provide on or off-base economic activity for persons and families needing employment and expansion of interests.

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.

Program Benefits

Improved nutritional diversity begins inside with training and education in indoor farming and related technologies. The GOE curriculum addresses most key elements of implementation and cultivation. Participants learn skills needed to grow nutritious fruits and vegetables all year round. The design of this program is rooted in the reality that military families are often isolated and need to participate in their communities. Access to jobs, housing and other social and economic opportunities can really make a difference. We make it so.

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.


The program is intended to provide nutritional options and a potential avenue of post-service employment. The skills and abilities learned in an on-base or community apply to private farming, but with salary and benefits as well. Learning and adaptation continue outside.

Scalability and Sustainability

Projects can be home based and just beyond the hobby level, or they can grow to supply a significant share of fresh vegetables for on-base and community consumption as a concession within the commissary. This will vary by installation.

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

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.

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.


No other program is as inexpensive and easy to start while having the variety of beneficial outcomes. Done correctly, it pays for itself. GOE stands ready to assist local organizers with curriculum and management services with a view to making each local activity independent and productive.


Hydroponic Cropping Systems (examples only; the program specifically avoids teaching to the technology, instead emphasizing goals and flexible approaches.)

How to Grow Microgreens - Start to Finish

Grow Fodder in Seven Days -

Leafy Greens/Herbs: Leafy Green Machine


A New Model for Training and Re-Entry

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