This season we are launching an 8 week, on site, hands on pilot program for female veterans to help them heal from their military experiences, find their sense of purpose, create fellowship with other area veterans, learn valuable job skills, and ideally inspire entrepreneurship.
It’s got 3 components that have already been used successfully with veterans: horticulture therapy (via organic farming and hydroponic greenhouse growing), a mindfulness based meditation practice, and a life coaching experience with horses based on the work of Monty Roberts and his “Join Up” program.
Here is some of what our veterans will learn:
Grow organic vegetables, fruit and flowers;
Operate a year-round hydroponic greenhouse and grow a variety of lettuces, greens and herbs;
Run a successful farm stand;
Operate a pick-your-own organic fruit business;
Be a vendor at a local farmer’s market;
Put on special events at the farm and bake pizza in a flat-bread pizza oven;
Produce maple syrup from tap to table;
Build functional structures, such as chicken houses & garden sheds via a local design build school;
Develop new self-empowerment skills through a life coaching experience with horses;
Eat a nutritionally balanced, sustainably raised, toxin free diet that promotes health;
Eliminate toxic chemicals from their homes and lifestyles;
Care for laying hens, 2 horses, 2 alpacas, grass fed beef cattle and pasture raised pigs;
Plus field trips to other area farms, agricultural fairs and workshops, and service opportunities in the local area, such as at the local Foodbank.
In addition to the on site farming program, we will also offer community organic garden plots for local area female veterans and their families, at no cost to them. The soil will be prepared with necessary organic amendments, seeds and seedlings will be given to them to plant, weed and harvest. The veterans will cooperatively decide what they want to do with their produce. Some may want to sell it wholesale to area restaurants and stores with a special “veteran grown” label, and/or at our farm stand and the Waitsfield farmer’s markets. Others may want to create value added products with the produce, such as pesto, salsa, etc. And, some may want to donate their excess to local area food pantries. Mainly, the community gardens will be an opportunity for area veterans to create fellowship and experience the benefits of working the earth together. Community gardening veterans will have an opportunity to experience the mindfulness meditation program that will be going on at the farm.
To find out how you can help, please contact us.