Why I Started GOTG
I have a hard time making it out of the house some days. As a disabled veteran with PTSD, the fear of the outside world and the various threats that might come my way can sometimes be overwhelming. Gardening aided me in healing and allowed me to serve others again and get out of the house. I have helped create sustainable garden spaces for family, friends, community members, a local farm, and a non-profit animal sanctuary. In every instance of serving others in this way, I have received so much in return: physically (sustainable gardening is a great workout) and emotionally (being able to connect with people in my community and see what we can grow together).
It is the hope of GOTG, to offer this simple idea to other injured, traumatized people, both veterans and civilians. Getting out in a garden space in your own backyard, at a community garden, or other public spaces can help all people heal and come together for a shared purpose. By sowing Conflict Seeds (seeds from regions of war, conflict, and even genocide) in these Healing Gardens, you and your community can also take part in defining seed justice and freedom!
Healing Gardens Initiative
When I started to work on the idea of Gloves on the Ground, 4 years ago, I called them Platoon Gardens. Back then the idea was to get disabled vets out in the community creating sustainable garden space and focusing on growing with organic means and guiding their efforts with a permaculture philosophy.
As I thought more, and before the pandemic started (for about the last year), the mission of the organization changed to focus on the platoons propagating seeds from regions/countries that have experienced conflict, even genocidal movements, such as a tomato from Iraq or a sorghum from South Sudan.
After the pandemic started and I thought further about what GOTG should look like , the need for healing and the way our platoons might be able to help facilitate this in their respective communities became clear. GOTG Healing Gardens will be that place to meet when we step into a post-COVID-19 world. It will still be a place for vets to heal the wounds of war, but it will also be a place that vets and their communities get together to reimagine who we are after the collective trauma of this time.
Your GOTG Healing Garden can impact the community positively by providing added food security through sharing seeds and produce. Further, the cooperative education and unity that happens when we leave our differences behind to grow and heal together can be profound! So let's get out there and grow sustainably, together!