Farm Therapy: Veterans Heal Through Agriculture
Of the 19.6 million veterans in the United States alone, approximately 3.6 million have a service-related disability, 7.6 percent are unemployed and they collectively make up 13 percent of the adult homeless population, according to the Independent Voter Network.
Organizations worldwide are helping veterans heal their wounds through farming and agriculture. The goal is to create a sustainable food system by educating them to be sustainable vegetable producers, providing training and helping families rebuild war-torn lives.
Eat the Yard, in Dallas, Texas, was founded by Iraq War veterans James Jeffers and Steve Smith to cultivate fresh produce in community gardens. The two began organic farming in their own backyards for both therapeutic and financial reasons, and then slowly began to build more gardens in their community. They now sell their produce to local restaurants and businesses.
The Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) is working with veterans across the U.S. to transition them into agriculture. The coalition partners veterans with mentors experienced in farming and business, matches them with agriculture-related job opportunities and organizes equipment donations in Iowa and California. FVC is helping former members of the armed forces in 48 states.