Fort Hood is the largest active military base in the United States. It has an updated community garden designed to bring mental and physical well-being to the military personnel and their families on base.
The newly-renovated Comanche Community Garden is a partnership between the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division and Compost Facility, Dominion Energy, Pike Electric, and Fort Hood Family Housing, who all came together to cultivate the green space.
“This garden will provide a space for soldiers, their families, and neighbors to come together and share in the physical and mental health benefits of planting and growing fruits or vegetables,” said Jackelyn Ferrer, Directorate of Public Works Sustainability Program Manager.
Gardening has proven to be a big boost for both physical and emotional well-being. It can help improve mental health, attention span, focus, bolster self-esteem and social interactions, and is a great form of exercise. For kids, gardening is a great way to create new relationships and develop lifelong skills. The Comanche Community Garden is specifically designed to be inclusive for people of all abilities and ages, including children. Some of the major updates include wider, resurfaced pathways, taller garden beds, a new irrigation system and a monarch butterfly mural.
“It’s important to stay engaged with the community,” said Josh Boyes, a Dominion Energy local supervisor. “It’s great knowing children can learn skills that can last them a lifetime and a point of pride that they can come out, plant, raise and harvest fresh vegetables themselves.”
The Comanche Community Garden also has a popular garden club that harvests fruits and vegetables year-round. The garden club focuses on youth, giving them a better understanding of where food comes from and how to cultivate it properly, offering them a true sense of accomplishment at the end of each growing season.
“This community garden is a great way to bring people together,” added Fort Hood director of family housing Chris Albus. “It creates a sense of community, takes care of the environment…[and supports] sustainability.”
There’s no doubt the Comanche Community Garden will continue to bring together the soldiers and families at Fort Hood each year it grows. It’s a win-win for the post and its residents as gardening teaches about nutrition and the environment, creates life-long friendships and helps foster a sense of well-being and peace for everyone who puts their hands in the dirt.