DAR chapter gives service award to Growing Healthy Veterans
The Ansel Brainerd Cook Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Libertyville, presented Marshall Fox, Lukan Paulus and Ellen Ewing of Growing Healthy Veterans with the DAR Community Service Award Oct. 11.
Ellen Ewing is the president of Growing Healthy Veterans and was instrumental in introducing Fox to organic urban farming.
The Community Service Award is given to individuals or groups who have contributed to the community in an outstanding manner through cultural, educational, humanitarian, patriotic, historical, citizenship or environmental conservation efforts, and by organizing or participating in community activities.
Growing Healthy Veterans is a registered nonprofit, co-founded in 2016 by Marshall Fox, an Air Force Veteran, and Lukan Paulus, who is certified in sustainable agriculture and horticulture therapy.
Growing Healthy Veterans was able to partner with the recreational therapist who works with the veterans that have PTSD at the James A Lovell Federal Health Care Center. Horticulture therapy helps to engage the veterans in sustainable agriculture practices to enhance their physical and mental health, along with overall wellness, while exposing them to opportunities for employment and connecting them to their communities.
Growing Healthy Veterans began in 2016 with garden plots that were donated by the Liberty Prairie Foundation in Grayslake.
Toward the end of 2017, Mayor Leon Rockingham and the City of North Chicago offered Growing Healthy Veterans 14 acres. In 2018, part of that land was dedicated to be used as a community garden for veterans, active duty military and the local residents.
By the time harvest season came, more than 1,000 pounds of produce were distributed to veterans and their families, residents and to the local food pantries.
In early 2018, the Gurnee American Legion Post 771 donated 2½ acres to Growing Healthy Veterans. That additional land was the perfect location for several hoop houses, which enabled them to extend the growing season.
The veterans who volunteered in the gardens are able to just be themselves, talking with other veterans and "cultivating the soil to help heal the spirit."
The Ansel Brainerd Cook Chapter was honored to present the DAR Community Service Award to Growing Healthy Veterans.
For more information about the Ansel Brainerd Cook Chapter, NSDAR, visit ildar.org/chapters/anselbrainerdcook.
For more information about Growing Healthy Veterans, visit www.growinghealthyveterans.org.