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Veteran Reintegration Program at Chatfield

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The growing season is in full swing at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. Participants of the Veteran Reintegration Program helped plant and harvest vegetables on the five acre Community Supporting Agriculture (CSA) farm.  

They also planted pumpkins, decorative gourds, ornamental Indian corn and popcorn that will be sold at this year’s Pumpkin Festival at Chatfield in October. The three-day Pumpkin Festival features live music, face painting, pumpkin carving demonstrations and pony rides. Alongside the sale of thousands of pumpkins picked from our ten acre patch, the specialty crops grown by the veterans will also be sold. Proceeds from this fundraiser support the program.

The Veteran Reintegration Program began in 2013 and was designed to provide opportunities for veterans and their families to make a smooth transition from military life to civilian life while learning valuable skills and spending time outside. While engaging in an authentic educational and community-based agricultural experience, our veteran participants have the opportunity to address self-identified social, vocational and therapeutic goals. Completion of the program will result in a certificate that qualifies participants to start and manage a home vegetable garden or even begin a career in agriculture.

Throughout the six month growing season, participants gain skills in planting bulk seeds and seedlings, cultivating fields and maintaining crop quality, installing irrigation, amending soil, preparing beds and harvesting vegetables. Additionally, free classes on nutrition, food preservation, resume building and yoga are offered.

We look forward to seeing you at Pumpkin Festival!

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