Green Veterans is a program of Groundwork Milwaukee that empowers veterans in our community to promote environmental, economic, and social well-being.
When it was founded as an independent program in 2013, Green Veterans focused mainly on sustainability. However, when Green Veterans came to Wisconsin in 2017 and became a part of Groundwork Milwaukee’s framework, it shifted its focus to meet local needs. The Milwaukee program concentrates its efforts towards urban gardening to create opportunities for healing through horticulture.
Since World War I, the practice of communing with nature to heal the body, mind, and spirit has been used to treat the invisible wounds of war. Groundwork Milwaukee’s Brian Sales, Green Veterans Founder, has seen firsthand how touching soil can be therapeutic for those dealing with trauma disorders, which is why this program creates opportunities for therapy and trauma resolution through urban agriculture. Green Veterans provides exposure and experience with alternative coping mechanisms for Veterans dealing with trauma.
In their two seasons with Groundwork Milwaukee, Green Veterans program participants have worked primarily on the Organic Therapy Project, where veteran participants grow, maintain, and harvest produce on Groundwork Milwaukee’s urban farming and agricultural sites. Program participants also study beekeeping and pollinating, train in healthy eating, food preservation, and canning; enjoy outdoor recreation including camping and fishing; and engage local community partners including the Center for Veterans Issues, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s Military and Veterans Resource Center, Concordia University, the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, and Healing Patriots among others.
Outside of the Organic Therapy Project, Groundwork Milwaukee’s Green Veterans have participated in a number of Groundwork’s programs including community garden builds, tree and bush gleaning, and urban waters education. Groundwork’s goals for the Green Veterans include participant outreach and growth, and program expansion which will include year-round program options. Groundwork Milwaukee has the expert staff and resources to reach these goals, but needs community support and contributions to succeed. Support local Veterans by donating to this worthwhile program. Visit the main page of our website or http://www.groundworkmke.org/donate to make a contribution. If you or someone you know is a Veteran interested in healing through horticulture, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.