Pathways Organic Farming & Community Gardens
Amy Todisco – Board Member, National Director of Organic Farming, Food & Health
Women veterans are a particularly under-served population.
A study, Risk Factors for Homelessness Among Women Veterans, cited on the PubMed.gov site says that “Women veterans are three to four times more likely than non-veteran women to become homeless…Characteristics associated with homelessness were sexual assault during military service, being unemployed, being disabled, having worse overall health, and screening positive for an anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. Protective factors were being a college graduate or married…Programs that work to ameliorate risk factors may prevent these women’s living situations from deteriorating over time.”
Pathways for Veterans wants to help women veterans reduce their risk factors, heal their body/mind/spirit from the wounds of war, and go from just surviving to thriving. With that in mind, this summer (2014) we are offering an online and hands-on organic farming experience for female veterans in multiple locations throughout the United States. This organic farming experience is in addition to our regular Curriculum for Living.
Why organic gardening/farming?
The short answer is that it has many documented mind/body/spirit benefits.
Some of the scientifically documented benefits for people working with plants through gardening and horticultural therapy are:
- Increased self-esteem and improved mood
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Alleviated depression
- An improved sense of well-being and personal worth
- Increased feelings of calm and relaxation and sense of pride and accomplishment
- Breathing relatively fresh air
- Access to vitamin D producing sunshine
- Benefits to the immune system from exposure to soil micro-organisms
- Healthier eating (those who grow it are more likely to eat it)
- Reduced blood pressure when humans view a beautiful landscape
The goals of our program are to:
Help our women veterans heal with an innovative, whole body/mind/spirit curriculum that provides online and live experiential learning, university credits, application of core Pathways transformational principles, and a shift from growing and learning to serving others.
Provide female veterans with the skills (at no cost to them) needed to not only grow their own organic food, but also to become employed on a farm while they are paid by the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program under Chapter 31.
At our Vermont location, female veterans will also have the opportunity to learn year-round hydroponic greenhouse growing–cutting edge growing technology that is not climate sensitive.
Inspire our participants to begin their own agriculturally-related business.
Create a supportive community of women veterans where they help mentor each other.
Regenerate our veteran’s sense of responsibility and commitment to their personal, family and community’s well being.
The opportunity: (varies depending upon the location) to work on a commercial organic farm and a hydroponic greenhouse and learn all aspects of preparing the soil, including soil amendments, starting seeds, planting seedlings and direct seeding, using cold frame greenhouses and season extension techniques, weeding, harvesting, selling at a farm stand and farmer’s market, running a pick your own fruit operation, caring for farm animals (horses, alpacas, chickens, beef cattle, pasture raised pigs), what to do with the produce once harvested (nutrition, food preparation and preserving), farm events (including the use of a flatbread pizza oven), field trips to farm related fairs and conferences, beekeeping, woodworking for women, community service opportunities, and more.
If you are a female veteran and would like more information, contact us now. Space is limited.
If you are a business or individual that would like to support our veterans so that they may experience this ground-breaking organic program at no cost to the veteran, please click the donate button below to make your tax deductible donation.
Pathways for Veterans is a 501(c)(3) publicly funded non-profit organization serving United States veterans. We use PayPal to process online donations securely. Donations can be made with Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and electronic checks debited directly from any checking account you choose.
If you choose to mail in your donation, please send to:
Pathways for Veterans–Organic Farming
PO Box 6466
Folsom, CA 95763
To Learn More About Pathways Programs for Veterans — Click A Link Below