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Reaching Urban Veterans through Urban Horticulture

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PDT.



Rutgers Veterans Environmental Technology and Solutions (RVETS) provides a structured learning environment to introduce unemployed or underemployed US military veterans to urban agriculture, aquaponics and organic land care as career options. RVETS also encourages veterans to become business owners in their community through entrepreneurship training in collaboration with the Rutgers-Newark School of Business.

RVETS provides over 1000 hours of training to 10-15 veterans over the course of 6 months along with an hourly stipend. Trainees work in county parks, community gardens and greening projects, and school gardens. Food from the gardens and greenhouses tended by RVETS is donated to a local soup kitchen.

Learn about the development and operations of RVETS from program co-founder Jan Zientek. Jan, the acting Agricultural Agent and County Extension Department Head for Essex County began formally working with veterans in 2008 at the VA Hospital in East Orange, New Jersey, where he created a garden training program which was integrated into the VA Compensated Work Therapy program. Jan will share how RVETS evolved, and strategies for creating partnerships and serving veterans in other urban communities.



Reaching Urban Veterans Through Horticulture (.pdf)

Presenter Info

Jan Zientek

Jan Zientek

County Extension Department Head
Senior Program Coordinator, Agriculture and Resource Management
Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station
Cooperative Extension of Essex County
Email Jan
Jan’s Website