Local non-profit Growing Veterans has created an amazing outreach program that literally nourishes the soul. Through their Agriculture Program, they teach veterans sustainable farming. The team of volunteers and staff help vets to utilize their newfound farming skills while providing them with the camaraderie they so often miss once out of the military.
The main farm in Mount Vernon is certified organic and grows pretty much anything you can put on your plate from carrots and kale to radishes and cabbage. They even have multiple bee hives. The crops and honey are sold or donated to regional veteran hospitals, farmer's markets, and co-ops. Growing Veterans is even getting into the beer business by growing organic hops for two regional microbreweries.
Peer Support Program
Growing Veterans has a dynamic Peer Support Program. Their 3-day training program prepares veterans and civilians to support veterans in their community. There are many veterans who don't have someone to talk to and are struggling in day-to-day life after leaving the military. "Last year we trained 44 peer supporters from seven different states, and we expect to have the same amount this year," co-founder Christina Wolf explains. Once trained, participants go back to their communities to build a network of support for veterans.
You can "dig in" and see what this special organization is all about on Tuesdays and Thursdays when volunteers at the Skagit farm are needed to harvest, weed and plant. You can also support this group by donating online, either as a one-time gift or as a recurring monthly donation. http://growingveterans.org/invest/
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