The Green Bay Packers, Brown County UW-Extension and Green Bay Vet Center today broke ground on a new Veterans’ Garden on the northwest side of Green Bay.
Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy, Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, Brown County Board of Supervisors Chair Patrick Moynihan and several Vet Center and UW-Extension representatives were on hand for the groundbreaking. Following the groundbreaking, Packers employees, veterans and UW-Extension employees worked together to build the garden as part of the semi-annual Packers Give Back Day, building garden beds, constructing a shed and gazebo, assembling a water tank and compost tumbler and creating a path.
“We are proud to be joining the Vet Center and UW-Extension in this cooperative effort that will touch so many lives in our area,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “It is so important to recognize and give back to those who have served our country, and this garden and the opportunities it offers will provide a therapeutic place for veterans to come together.”
The Green Bay Vet Center said they hope the garden is able to enhance the special camaraderie veterans share by connecting veterans who have similar experiences and challenges.
“Staff at the Green Bay Vet Center are excited and honored to be part of this collaboration to start the first Veterans’ Garden here in Brown County,” said Brooke Burich, Outreach Specialist at the Green Bay Vet Center. “Vet Center staff understand and appreciate the experiences of war Veterans, while assisting them and their family members toward a successful post-war adjustment in or near their community. We believe a garden offers a therapeutic value to veterans by helping them stay active while improving their mental health.”
Additionally, some of the produce grown in the Veterans’ Garden will be donated to local pantries to distribute food to those in need as part of Planting for a Purpose, a program that encourages gardeners to plant a garden plot and donate fresh produce to local food pantries.
The Veterans’ Garden is one of many gardening programs led by the Brown County UW-Extension Community Gardens Program that encourage residents to plant, grow and harvest their own produce. The UW-Extension offers rental garden plots, as well as educational and community-building gardening opportunities like garden walks, work nights, volunteer events, and gardening programs for youth in the City’s Summer Parks Program.
“We’re very excited to expand our program to include the Veterans’ Garden this year,” said Margaret Franchino, Community Garden Coordinator at the Brown County UW-Extension. “We see so many positives come from community gardens in Brown County, ranging from increased community health and food security to lifelong friendships among gardeners of diverse backgrounds. Gardens specifically for veterans offer veterans not only these benefits, but also serve as a powerful tool for healing and building community.”
Residents looking to get involved in community gardening opportunities can join in the Planting for a Purpose program, which will kick off on May 11 with a “plant and pledge” event from 4 to 6 p.m., at the Brown County UW-Extension building at 1150 Bellevue St., Green Bay. Gardeners are encouraged to attend the event to sign up for Planting for a Purpose and learn about food pantries to which they can donate. Those attending who sign up can also receive a free pair of gardening gloves, while supplies last.
Packers Give Back is the Packers’ all-encompassing community outreach initiative, which includes the Green Bay Packers Foundation, appearances made by players, alumni, coaches and staff, youth football outreach, cash and in-kind donations, Make-A-Wish visits, and community events, a comprehensive Packers charity impact that was in excess of $7 million in the past year.