Meet Michael Johnson!

I sat on the rooftop of Flats at Two Creeks, where the garden boxes are located, waiting for Michael and Emily, Flats’ Resident Care Coordinator, to meet me. Emily said that today they would be doing most of the planting for the garden beds. As we rolled the cart full of gardening supplies from the elevator door to the rooftop tables I knew we were in for some serious work!

Michael said he’s always loved gardening. “I grew up in the Midwest- Gary, Indiana- but most of my family is from the south. It’s what we do; my mom taught me about gardening, I always helped her.”
Michael is one of the residents in the VASH program at Flats at Two Creeks. VASH is a HUD program dedicated to finding housing for formerly homeless veterans and providing the necessary services they need to help them maintain a stable lifestyle. HUD-VASH has a partnership with Flats at Two Creeks, where 20 apartments are reserved for residents in the VASH program.
Early Years in the Military     
I dug my hands into the compost bag to layer the bottom of where a tomato plant would be placed and asked when Michael joined the military and what his motivation was. “Well, like I said I was in Gary, and I worked at the steel factory. When it closed down, I joined the military to learn a skilled profession, I wanted to improve my character and abilities. The principles I was taught and the jobs I performed helped me later when I got out. I did a lot of remodeling.”

I could tell he had a good sense of methodology to the things he did, the gardening was a great testament to this. The placement of each plant had a reasoning, it wasn’t just an empty box of soil. He rearranged the cucumber plants that had already been planted the week prior, and had great insights to where to place the new ones going in.

“Now don’t press those down too hard, Emily,” he said as Emily pressed dirt in around the seedling, “it’ll never grow."