But why farming?

If current events are an indicator of anything, it is that America’s “Just in Time” supply chain is inflexible and vulnerable to system shock. Store shelves, once packed full of commodities, sit empty. Restaurants already battered by COVID lock downs, now have to piece together their menus with whatever produce is available. Needless to say, communities need robust local agriculture now more than ever!

However it takes two to tango and this situation is no different. Building resilient communities requires more than farmers growing a crop – it takes the entire community to make sure that crop gets to market and is preserved for all to enjoy. The conservation efforts of WWII are a great example of how communities can build resilience around agriculture. It was commonplace during WWII to see massive volunteer efforts to harvest farms when labor was at a premium, and then take that crop and get it in to cans and jars. In a sense it took a village to raise a crop.

We need to pivot to that level of effort from our farms and communities now!

How can someone get involved who isn’t a farmer? It’s not as hard as it sounds! Here are some basic first steps how you can help build a resilient community around agriculture:

  1. Join a local farm’s community supported agriculture (CSA)
    A CSA is when a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” of their yield directly to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Customers then purchase a share and in return receive a box of seasonal produce on a regular basis (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc). Find a CSA near you through the USDA here

  2. Learn how to can and preserve produce
    Canning and preserving food is how the community can reinforce the supply chain. In essence when someone preserves their own food they become their own grocery. This is particular useful for anyone who lives in remote areas or when supply chains have broken down. Learn more about preserving your own food here

  3. Plant your own “Victory Garden”
    Your victory garden counts more now than ever! Big or small it doesn’t matter – your garden does more than just feed your family, it also helps nature by increasing habitat for pollinators and birds on top of boosting soil microbiology and sequestering carbon. Don’t have a yard? then consider pollinator friendly potted plants on a balcony or porch. Intermix some strawberries and make some jam!

  4. Become a member at a Community Garden
    If you don’t have a suitable yard for a garden, but still want to grow a crop then consider joining a community garden! Most cities and suburbs have at least a handful of community gardens that you can join and grow the crop of your choice. A simple query on your favorite search engine will yield a variety of different options!
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to answer your questions! 

If you appreciate our mission to train and equip veterans to become farmers then please consider making a tax deductible contribution 

Our Vision: How can we get veterans into farming?

We have talked about our Mission in depth – simply put, it is to train and equip veterans to translate their talents from the field to the farm. Broadly, our goal is to help Veterans rehabilitate and reintegrate through agriculture. However, our vision expands beyond the individual farm, and looks to create a network of interdependent and self-sufficient veteran-owned farms practicing sustainable agriculture through community based education and production.

This means that through the Dauntless Veteran Foundation veterans will be given the opportunity to start their own farms. To do this we will give them the experience necessary to qualify for their own first-time-farmer loan through the USDA; which requires three years experience managing a particular crop. The USDA waives one year for veteran status, so veterans just need two years of experience farming to qualify.

DVF will not only provide experience through partnering farms, but will also provide scholarships to agricultural programs across the country. In addition, DVF will assist with job placement in agriculture and related industries. For those farmer-veterans that complete our program and are successful in securing their own farm, DVF will help that farmer-veteran network to find a value added producer to buy the commodity they are growing. We already have avenues for grapes and orchards, but are looking to expand into grains, hops, and other specialty crops.

How else can we entice veterans to take up agriculture?

Continue reading “Our Vision: How can we get veterans into farming?”

September is Suicide Awareness Month

I personally struggled with depression and suicide during my rocky transition out of the military.  I nearly became a statistic had it not been for the network of people that helped me break through the hopelessness and disconnection that that so often leads to suicide. I was fortunate to have a network of friends and loved ones because some don’t or at least believe they don’t.

Suicide affects all people and some groups like veterans and farmers are disproportionately affected by this problem.  Veterans and farmers alike are facing an increase in suicide rates.

September is Suicide Awareness Month and we at DVF would like to remind everyone of some sobering facts:

Continue reading “September is Suicide Awareness Month”

How does working the land benefit the health and wellness of our veterans?

Did you know that almost a quarter of all veterans in the US return from active military careers to reside in rural communities? The opportunities from living and working in rural communities range from lower costs of living to the multiple health benefits of working in nature and having accessible means to outdoor recreation. 

Having access to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it also contributes to your physical wellbeing. Being in nature has proven to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It has been scientifically proven that being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. 

Time in nature increases our ability to pay attention. As humans, we find nature inherently interesting, we can naturally focus on what we are experiencing out in nature. This also provides a respite for our overactive minds, refreshing us for new tasks. Having the privilege of working the land offers us an opportunity to reconnect with our ancestral way of life that predates 12,000 years of history and evolution. 

Nature helps us cope with pain. We are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other natural elements engrossing, we are absorbed by nature scenes and distracted from our pain and discomfort. 

Holistic farming is a perfect therapeutic and professional alternative for veterans to find peace and a meaningful occupation. Studies have shown that healthy soil is home to billions of probiotic bacteria that can regulate mood and mitigate the symptoms of PTSD through the release of serotonin via the gut (or lung) to brain pathway. Not only that, soil can act as a tactile therapy which can help relieve the symptoms of TBI.

The symbiotic connection between veterans and the lands for which they fought for can be a valuable part of nature-based therapeutic programs, made possible through partnerships like the ones offered through DVF

Check out our Programs to learn more about how DVF brings veterans from the field to the farm.