First seeds sown in Team Vance’s new community garden

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Zoë Perkins
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Team Vance broke ground on the new community “Hero Garden” April 30 at the Youth Center in honor of Month of the Military Child.

The raised beds are the brain child of Lt. Col. Cuong Nguyen, from the 71st Healthcare Operations Squadron, who was inspired by a TED Talk about “a guerilla gardener in South Central Los Angeles.” 

Nguyen worked with Health Promotion Coordinator Sid Mirghani, from the 71st Operations Medical Readiness Squadron and Staff Sgt. Salvador Gutierrez, the NCO in charge of Public Health. 

“This right here is just a prototype, the first of many,” said Nguyen. “Our goal is to reach the whole base community and make a healthier difference. With COVID-19, everyone has been more isolated, and this something to help bring our community back together.”

The new Hero Garden will support learning opportunities for children whose parents are assigned to the base, promote healthier lifestyles and contribute to a cleaner environment, said Nguyen. It is tied to the 4-H agriculture course provided by the Teen Center, and Nguyen hopes that it will increase social interactions post pandemic. 

The main garden offers 24/7 access for the Team Vance community and plans to eventually place gardens in base housing, the dorms, near squadrons and perhaps one day starting a Vance Farmer’s Market.

This fall the garden will host a contest between the Teen Center and the Youth Center to see who can grow the largest pumpkin.