Veterans in Fort Campbell, Kentucky now have another place to grow food in the recently planted garden as part of the Screaming Eagle Foundation’s War Garden Project.
In 2012, there were an estimated 21.2 million veterans in the United States. No definitive number currently exists on the number of overall veterans that suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but an estimated 30 percent of veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have been treated by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs have been diagnosed with PTSD.
The project is supported by Soldiers And Families Embraced (SAFE), an organization that is focusing on helping military members and veterans reintegrate back into their communities. The garden recently received a US $12,500 grant from The Home Depot Foundation and help setting the garden up from a team of volunteers as a part of Home Depot’s third annual Celebration of Service campaign.
The gardens planted under the War Garden Project will function as therapeutic gardens that will aid veterans through their recovery process. The grant supports their efforts to implement a garden, greenhouse, and labyrinth where veterans will have the opportunity to socialize while learning to decrease stress, to control anger, and to cope with the changes that have taken place in their lives.
Horticultural therapy is not a new innovation to address PTSD. Various studies from the American Horticultural Therapy Association have verified the “calming effects” of individuals suffering from stress-related illnesses who interact with natural surroundings. They also indicate that working with soil alleviates some of the pain and distress associated with PTSD and helps individuals cope better with the effects of war trauma.
The project’s first garden was completed on Veteran’s Day in 2012. The War Garden Project hopes to continue providing garden environments that will help facilitate rehabilitation for war veterans and their families.