Patrick, Steven R.
Planting the Seeds to Overcome Addiction
UGA Master Gardener Extension Volunteers from the Headwaters Chapter worked with local Extension agents to restore a 100’ x 30' greenhouse, 5000 square foot vegetable plots, and 50 shitake mushroom logs at Victory Home to feed the men and provide a means of income for the private substance abuse rehabilitation center.
Healthy, locally grown food is a priority for the diet of the men at Victory Home. Engaging them in a program where they can gain skills and an appreciation for where their food comes from is an important piece in their recovery. Showing the men that someone truly cares about them is yet another key to helping them recover from addiction as they make their journey back into becoming healthy and contributing members of society.
Initially agents and volunteers met with Victory Home to set expectations for the project. The first step was to clean the greenhouse and to prepare for a fund-raising event, the wreath making class. Using the seed money from the wreathmaking class, the group worked to restore the greenhouse to active production which included basic improvements on greenhouse structure including repairing the benches, water lines, and sealing holes in the plastic. The group also attached a shade cloth to reduce the intensity of the sun for crop production. Agents conducted a soil test, applied lime and fertilizer to soil test recommendations and worked the soil to establish several rotations of crops using equipment from the Chestattee Chattahoochee Rural Development Council. Adjacent to the plot in the wood line, Master Gardeners inoculated 50 shitake mushroom logs with the residents. In April the group hosted a plant sale at the greenhouse and thrift store to raise funds for Victory Home.
A total of $5,200 was raised in funds for Victory Home through plant sales and donations. The shitake mushroom logs will produce about $600 in food or sales for the men during their 5-year life cycle. The vegetable plots are expected to produce approximately $1,800 in produce over the 3 years of active production. Multiple cover crops have been planted to help build the soil. The greenhouse project assists Victory Home by providing a source of food for the residents as well as financial assistance from the plant sales and Thrift Store sales. These funds go into the operation of the greenhouse and the daily activities of the facility. The mission of Victory Home is to feed the mind, body, spirit, and soul of the men. The mission of the greenhouse project is to feed the body and provide education that improves the nutritional status of the residents now and for the future.
- Year: 2020
- Geographic Scope: Multi-County
- County: Habersham
- Location: College Station, Athens
- Agriculture & Natural Resources