GREENSBURG, Pa. — “When I get off work and drive down my farm lane, I feel a weight lift off my shoulders.” These are the words of a Navy veteran who operates a sheep farm in eastern Pennsylvania while working full time in law enforcement; he speaks for many of those who served in the military and have found peace on the farm.
Other veterans decompress through outdoor recreation opportunities, equine therapy, or at fly fishing or hunting events throughout the state. Still others have found a new lease—or leash– on life when a trained service dog entered their lives. Throughout the Commonwealth there are any number of non-profit organizations committing energy and resources to create these types of opportunities for veterans and their family members.
The PA Veteran Farming Project–Pennsylvania’s network for military, veterans, and their spouses who farm and own agribusinesses–is seeking input from non-profit organizations serving veterans through agriculture-related programming. These include those offering agritherapy, care farming, animal assisted therapy, service dogs, horticultural therapy, horse rescues, hunting and fishing outings, and others.
This project has a two-fold mission:
1. To increase awareness of agriculture-related programming addressing stress and mental wellness among veterans.
2. To improve connections among service providers and helping organizations in the state that serve veterans and dependents.
To these ends, the PA Veteran Farming Project invites representatives from pertinent organizations to complete a brief survey at tinyurl.com/Agritherapy. Submissions will be compiled into a database to connect organizations with similar missions, plan future networking meetings and training, share best practices, and to assist service providers in referring military and veterans to non-profit programs that fit their needs and interests.
The survey is open now and will remain available throughout September. For more information or questions, please contact PA Veteran Farming Project staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 724-691-1087.
–PA Veteran Farming Project