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For Hunger and Healing: Weld Food Bank's Victory Garden

Jun 30, 2014

Victory Garden in Greeley, CO was established through a partnership between Weld Food Bank and Alternative Homes for Youth.  The garden is located at Alternative Homes for Youth (AHFY), a residential rehabilitative center for teenage boys.  A group of 5-10 youth ages 17-20 are the regular caretakers of this garden which primarily grows produce for Weld Food Bank.  This season so far, we have delivered just over 100 pounds of produce to the food bank.  The youth are able to keep whatever portions of the harvests that they can use in their meals, and receive culinary training on how to use these products from the garden.  In addition to culinary training, they receive basic horticultural training and horticultural therapy as part of their treatment.  These experiences have made great contributions to their healing, growth and preparation for self sufficient, happy, healthy lives after AHFY.   As part of their horticultural therapy, they journal regularly in the garden.  One of the entries this spring perhaps best expresses the role this garden plays in the lives of these youth:

“There is so much on my mind and yet nothing at all.  Today I feel free and grateful.  I feel in control. Not of the world, that’s impossible.  I feel in control of me, of my fate, and that’s such a lovely feeling.  I feel myself healing, I feel myself growing.  I am so glad that today I can separate the urban from the earth.  That I can hear the birds over the cars, that I can smell the life of the garden over Greeley’s waste.  Today my roots do not have to search for cracks in the concrete of this world’s urban jungle to survive.  Today my roots, my soul, are boundless.”

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