Due to the planet's heavy involvement in the Independents' side of the Unification War, Verbena is scarcely surviving, barely more than a piece of barren rock. Recently, the Alliance has been making an effort to show the population the error of their ways by leading them back into prosperity through government-funded improvements to the planet's economy.
(This material is gleaned from the un-produced Firefly script Dead or Alive(approve sites), whose questionable origins lead us to mark it officially non-canon, although it is certainly quite plausible as a 'real' script.)
Serenity RPG reference (Serenity Role Playing Game ISBN: 1931567506)
Verbena was a lush world of thick forests. The world was largely underdeveloped until the Alliance made it a centerpiece for its "rejuvenation after Unification" campaign. Government incentives funded new construction, including a factory to supply parts for military vehicles.
An Independent soldier-turned-terrorist bombed the factory, killing hundreds and destroying the structure. The bombing sent the world into an economic depression and created an atmosphere of paranoia, fear and hatred for Browncoats and the Independence movement.
Legislation to aid the troubled world is being discussed in parliament and will be voted on once the committees have determined what course to take.