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by Larry

August, 2014

PTSD? Try Organic Farming

As it happens, kids, vets, and others with post traumatic stress disorder can find peace, confidence, and a returning sense of personal worth from work with animals or helping things to grow in the natural way. Survivors of cancer, terrible abuse, severe accidents, or harrowing war experiences often have longstanding mental health issues. Here is a way professionals and the volunteer community can help and how youngsters, veterans, and others can get the assistance they need to turn their lives around.

Veterans already have been finding relief from PTSD symptoms in a variety of ways, such as sweat lodges, yoga, meditation, Outward Bound programs, medication therapy, counseling, and even from marijuana, but among the best now are either organic farming or work with horses, cattle, chickens, bees, and service dogs.

a mixed veggies organic farm in Capay, CA (wikipedia)

Capitalizing on this, a three-acre plot at Northeast Wisconsin's Technical College is being devoted to a degree program teaching vets and other students how to look after bees or chickens and grow plants organically. There is more demand for organic produce than there is supply, so graduates should be able to get work for organic farmers and ranchers in the area or start small farms for themselves. (See "Veterans in Green Bay Area Pursue Small-Scale Farming" - NPR - 7/18/14.]

A neat thing about these therapeutic agricultural and related options is that unlike, say, smoking pot, animal husbandry, training service dogs, and growing organic food are clearly positive services for which there are real needs in society and the economy. The vets, kids, and others getting over PTSD are not dumb and can see this too. It potentially adds greatly to their self-esteem as they become less victims of damaging disease or trauma and more productive contributors to the global village.

So it is terrific that across the country diverse opportunities are arising for such life enhancing and serenity restoring endeavors:

  1. Purple Heart recipient Adam Burke founded Veterans Farm in FL, where he grows blueberries and seeks to hire vets and others with disabilities to help him grow and market organic produce that is in high demand and so help provide fulfilling outdoor work and community involvement.

  2. Hungry Mother Organics is a large veteran-founded farming and aquaponics operation in northern NV.

  3. For large-scale vet operated herb farming, try the hydro-organic operation near San Diego, CA, Archi's Acres.

  4. A 37-year-old vet with PTSD and head injuries felt that the best of life was over a few years ago, but Mike Simester is now thriving on the profitable 10-acre Serendipity Farms he founded in IA, where he tends orchards, chickens, and rows of organic produce.

  5. TN based Calico Junction New Beginnings Ranch offers veterans with PTSD rewarding experiences working with animals and at-risk youth in picturesque outdoor settings.

Not merely PTSD patients can benefit from this sort of thing. Almost anyone can plant a garden and have the joy and satisfaction of growing his or her own food. Valerie and I take pleasure in planting and nurturing trees and shrubs, and these have transformed our landscape in ways that look good and require less water. Others may help out at equestrian ranches for the disabled, assist with wildlife rescue organizations or petting zoos, clean up our rivers, help develop and maintain butterfly habitats, add xeroscaping in arid environments, provide homes for animals that others have abandoned, enrich existing ecosystems, or find ways in our own communities to help kids or veterans find their way back to rewarding, meaningful lives via farming or working with animals. The same healthy formula that works so well for wounded kids and vets can enrich anyone's life!

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