Our flagship program provides a stipend for Veterans to learn viticulture and agriculture through experiential learning pathways.
Veterans are needed now more than ever to maintain food security for the nation. Soldiering and farming have been intertwined for millennia because both require hard work and attention to detail; while tending the land is perhaps one of the oldest methods of post-war therapy. 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.
But how can we get veterans on to their own farms? The barriers to entry seem enormous for any aspiring farmer. The USDA requires experience and veterans need access to land, Dauntless Veteran Foundation (DVF) will offer both.
DVF will begin accepting applications for the Fellowship Program on January 1st 2022. Applicant submissions will be reviewed by the DVF Board of Directors and the top selected candidates will be interviewed for acceptance. Candidates will be notified of the boards decision by the end of February, and will begin Fellowship in March.
Awarded candidates (aka Legionaires) will receive annual compensation as well as hands on training through the four seasons and wine production process.
- Bud Break – The first stage of the vine cycle that yields grapes each fall. Bud break is actually that– when a new bud bursts out of an existing plant. It’s the first visual cue that dormant grape vines are waking up for the new growing season
- Bloom – (also known as flowering) and fruit set. This important phase in the grape growing season will determine the number of berries in each grape cluster. With this information, winemakers can anticipate fruit loads and begin to plan for harvest.
- Veraison – Much like tomatoes turning red, each grape in a cluster begins to change from green to purple during veraison. And veraison also occurs in grapes that don’t change color, including Riesling, Pinot blanc and Chardonnay.
- Harvest – The harvesting of wine grapes (Vintage) is one of the most crucial steps in the process of winemaking. The time of harvest is determined primarily by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tannin levels with winemakers basing their decision to pick based on the style of wine they wish to produce.
- Wine Production – Winemaking or vinification is the production of wine, starting with the selection of the fruit, its fermentation into alcohol, and the bottling of the finished liquid.
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