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Fred Petzold, whose organic garden inspired others throughout (Credit: Charles Eckert)

Fred Petzold, whose organic garden inspired others throughout New York City, has become a leader for local veterans. "The garden draws people out of their rooms and has them gravitate to Fred who helps them feel welcome," said Dan Lohaus, the Green Initiatives director for the Services for the Underserved program. (August 22, 2012)

Veterans find new life in backyard gardens

Vietnam veteran Fred Petzold is one of 48 formerly homeless veterans living at the Knickerbocker apartments in Bushwick, where his vegetable garden produces about 10 pounds of food a week.

Fred Petzold, 65, a veteran of the Vietnam
(Credit: Charles Eckert)

Fred Petzold, 65, a veteran of the Vietnam War who served in the 173rd Airborne Brigade and a resident of The Knickerbocker Residence for Homeless Veterans, tends to the organic garden as a part-time employee in the Services for the Underserved Urban Gardening Program. (August 22, 2012)

George Franqui, 66, a former Marine and a
(Credit: Charles Eckert)

George Franqui, 66, a former Marine and a resident of The Knickerbocker Residence for Homeless Veterans, tends to the organic garden as part-time employee in the Services for the Underserved Urban Gardening Program. (August 22, 2012)

Former U.S. Marine George Franqui tends to the
(Credit: Charles Eckert)

Former U.S. Marine George Franqui tends to the organic garden at The Knickerbocker Residence for Homeless Veterans, which produces about 10 pounds of food per week. (August 22, 2012)

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George Franqui, 66, tends to the garden at
(Credit: Charles Eckert)

George Franqui, 66, tends to the garden at The Knickerbocker Residence for Homeless Veterans in Bushwick. The garden's success has inspired three more gardens at housing properties operated by Services for the Underserved in Brownsville, East New York and Bedford Stuyvesant. (August 22, 2012)

Vietnam veteran Fred Petzold created the first garden
(Credit: Charles Eckert)

Vietnam veteran Fred Petzold created the first garden at the Knickerbocker apartments. "There was a great big hedge against that wall. I started to pull up the grass and began to plant," Petzold said. "Instead of destroying life like I did in my earlier life I am now creating food."

George Franqui is one of more than 400
(Credit: Charles Eckert)

George Franqui is one of more than 400 New York City veterans in the Services for the Underserved program. He tends to the organic garden at the Knickerbocker apartments for the organization's Urban Gardening Program. (August 22, 2012)

Fred Petzold, whose organic garden inspired others throughout
(Credit: Charles Eckert)

Fred Petzold, whose organic garden inspired others throughout New York City, has become a leader for local veterans. "The garden draws people out of their rooms and has them gravitate to Fred who helps them feel welcome," said Dan Lohaus, the Green Initiatives director for the Services for the Underserved program. (August 22, 2012)

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