The Sustainable Living Project is getting veterans back into society through the construction of their Veteran Garden, set to open Feb. 16.
“We thought if we did something here that would welcome veterans, they may enjoy coming to see where their food is coming from and engaging in fellowship with other veterans here,” Will Carey, the project’s operations manager, said.
Located at 918 W Sligh Ave., The Sustainable Living Project works to grow food and to teach sustainable living techniques.
“I’ve done a couple of little grow boxes at my house and from what I see here, I can change a lot of things to make it a lot better,” Kenneth Jackson, a volunteer, said.
Carey, who’s worked 20 years in the field of hunger related issues, wanted to do something for veterans. All food is being donated to those in need.
“Everything else we’ve been doing here is going to folks that needed healthier alternatives injected into their diet,” Carey said. “We deal with a lot of homelessness, and veterans make up a good portion of that.”
Carey, who sees this as a stepping stone to other gardens, says these types of programs will only get bigger and become more accessible to everyone.
The Sustainable Living Project opened on Earth Day in 2013.
The co-founder of a new facility is taking a unique approach in helping veterans in the Tampa Bay area cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Janel Norton has served our country as a combat photojournalist for the U.S. Air Force, now she serves in her community by helping other veterans.
“I experienced what I now know was post-traumatic stress when I returned home” Said Janel.
After being stationed in both Liberia and Bosnia, she decided to come back to the United States, but the transition wasn’t easy.
“I got really angry when I came back,” Norton said. “People don’t even know what’s going on over there. I felt very disconnected with everybody and nobody understood anything I had been living through for the last couple of years”
She then discovered the healing power of yoga and had the idea of opening an establishment where local veterans could meet and experience this healing together. After meeting with a prior green beret, they started the Veterans Alternative.
Member and Afghanistan war veteran David Jones is only one of the many veterans that has benefited from this class.
“She’s done wonders as far as you know helping me sleep with this iRest,” Jones said.
iRest is a form of yoga made accessible to everyone. This stress reducing class helps veterans tap into their inner resource.
“We have a small population that we’re serving, but there’s many more,” Norton said.