Opinion

VOLUNTEER VIEW: Growing Veterans aids reintegration

Growing Veterans was established in 2013 and had about 250 volunteers in 2014.

Purpose: To empower military veterans to grow food, communities, and each other. We combine veteran reintegration with sustainable agriculture. We have created a holistic solution to fighting the multitude of issues the veteran population faces and are simultaneously empowering veterans to strengthen the important sustainable agriculture movement. Veterans face many issues; unemployment, homelessness, suicide, divorce, and depression. We believe that in most cases the root cause of these issues is isolation. Isolated from their peers, family, friends, and from the community as a whole, it can be difficult to remain resilient and get the proper support. Growing Veterans provides a place where veterans can get together in support of a positive and worthy cause, allowing them to experience an informal peer-support setting, while supporting the broader community. During our work here we often talk about our wartime experience and struggles we’re currently facing; VA, school, suicide, politics, medications, and family.

Volunteer highlights: We would like to give a big thanks to Whatcom County and the local community, which has always been a great supporter of Growing Veterans. Recently, over 100 vets and community members attended our MLK Day volunteer events at both the Growing Veterans main farm in Lynden and the outposts spanning all of Puget Sound. We would also like to highlight two veterans. This month, we are welcoming Dan to the Growing Veterans crew as our new field manager. Dan served with the Army in Kosovo and Iraq. He has been farming for over seven years in various capacities, including working recently with “Veterans to Farmers” in Colorado. We also extend thanks to Tom, an Army Iraq veteran and Purple Heart recipient who will be helping Growing Veterans build capacity and engage veterans in peer-support outreach. Yet another reason this year is going to be epic!

Signature fundraiser: We now have many ways that you can support Growing Veterans on our website. Some are easier than others, so check out the link to see which option is the best fit for you: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/gwgv/pledge/97798/.

Wish list: We need any of the following: printer/copier/scanner combo and ink, hand tools (shovels, hoes, rakes), loppers and hand pruners, twin or full size mattresses (new), pillows (new), food dehydrator, orchard ladder, garden cart, impact driver, and a walking surveyors tape.

Volunteer needs: We are looking for volunteers to help out (Monday Tuesday Wednesday and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) each week.

For more information, go online to growingveterans.org.

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