Many veterans returning home from combat want to reconnect and be productive, but post-traumatic stress disorder or other factors make it hard for them to find a place to fit in civilian life. Surprisingly, increasing numbers of vets find that farming is the key to reconnecting and moving forward.
A significant number of organizations such as the Farmer Veteran Coalition and Veterans to Farmers have sprung up to help vets get connected and learn what they need to know to succeed in agriculture. These organizations help interested vets learn about food and farming careers, then provide them with internships and apprenticeships so they can learn about farm operations outside of a traditional educational setting. Mentors help vets learn more, making sure each veteran’s individual needs are met. Finally, the vet-to-farmer organizations provide job placement services to help veterans get their careers started, then provide funding when veterans want to expand their new farming businesses.
Some of the vet-to-farmer organizations specialize in teaching organic food production or specific hydroponic or aeroponic growing techniques. Others focus on animal husbandry, helping vets raise goats or other animals. Veteran-run farms are then in a position to give back to their communities by growing food that is sold locally. These programs help vets connect both emotionally and economically to their communities by giving them a path to owning their own businesses. They also fill a vital need in the nation, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimating that at least 100,000 new farmers are needed in the coming years.
By learning sustainable methods of growing food once they have returned home, many vets have found their own path to economic and social sustainability. These vet-to-farmer organizations are just some of many ways to help out returning veterans. Click here to pick your favorite way of helping vets, and donate today.Whizzco