We combine veteran reintegration with sustainable agriculture- creating a holistic solution to fighting the multitude of issues the veteran population faces and simultaneously empowering our fellow vets to strengthen the incredibly important sustainable agriculture movement.
Acknowledging the many issues that veterans face: unemployment, homelessness, suicide, divorce and depression – we believe that in most cases the root cause of these issues is isolation. Isolated from the peers they served with, from family and friends, from the community as a whole, it can be difficult for a veteran to remain resilient and get the proper support they need. Growing Veterans provides a place where veterans can get together in support of a positive and worthy cause, allowing them to experience an informal peer-support setting, while also encouraging them to use skills gained in the military or school, to support the broader community. While working in the fields we talk about our wartime experience, issues we’re having gaining access to the VA, struggles we face in school using the GI Bill, suicide, politics, medications… we even laugh and poke fun at each other, sometimes ruthlessly, because that’s what camaraderie is all about. After all, most of us are vets. Growing Veterans is a non-profit organization with 501 (c) 3 designation since October 8, 2014.
In 2012 the Department of Veterans Affairs conducted a study which discovered for 10 years running, there was an average of 18-22 veteran suicides per day in the United States. Many of our veterans have friends they served with who have gone this unfortunate route- and we’re tired of standing by while the trend continues. Our vision is to end veteran suicide by targeting the root cause: isolation. Using the farm as the platform, we provide a space where veterans can work together, support each other, and engage with the broader community in order to have a full and successful transition home.
Let food be thy medicine… Besides being a place where vets can come to feel normal again, we try to harness the skills, energy and passions of military veterans to support and strengthen local and sustainable agriculture. We believe that our nation’s military veterans are key to changing this system, literally from the ground up. By acting as positive leaders in the community, we have the potential to bridge all sides of the Socio-political-economic divide, and strengthen support for local and regional food systems that are sustainable for our environment, support local economies, and increase the health and well being of our community members. And we just so happen to grow some of the tastiest food around.
Upside Down Helmet: represents the end of military service and acknowledges that we can never forget our roots.
Veggies Growing out of Helmet: represents the abundance of life that we grow and sustain, physically and metaphorically.
Seal: represents military emblems, giving us a new emblem to take pride in.