NAMPA - Veterans Therapeutic Gardens is hosting a chili cook-off fundraiser to help complete their latest garden for Idaho veterans.

They’ve teamed up with the Lighthouse Rescue Mission in Nampa, where the garden will be located, to build the garden. The idea is for the Veterans Liberty Garden to be a form of therapy for local veterans.

“There’s just a lot of things that calm individuals, and gardening is one of them,” said Lighthouse Veterans Program Manager Mike Waltermire. “[Gardening has been] proven to be very therapeutic for individuals with depression, PTSD, individuals with traumatic brain injuries.”

The plan is to have two areas: a traditional vegetable garden where veterans can garden and the serenity garden, complete with an amphitheater.

“You can come and hold processing groups in classes, or just come do Bible studies whatever,” Waltermire said.

But the garden still needs a lot of work before it can open.

“We need planters, we need gravel, chip gravel definitely is a big, big deal ,” said Terri Warren, Vice President of Veterans Therapeutic Gardens. “Anything and everything that has to do with a garden.”

“We’re planning on building 28 raised beds with the first, I think they’ve got the first 10 paid for, so we still to pay for 18 more raised beds,” Waltermire said.

They decided a chili cook-off was the best way to get the community involved and raising the money needed.

“Anybody who has anything to do with a veteran knows how important it is that they have responsibility and we depend on them,” Warren said. “They’re so important in our community. We want to make sure they know how important they are.”

The cook-off will be held next to the Lighthouse Rescue Mission. It starts at 11 am on Saturday. It costs $5 to sample the chili. All of the money raised goes into completing the garden.

The Veterans Liberty Garden is expected to be finished by fall.