- Veterans Healing Farms is a place for volunteer veterans to be with nature, produce crops, and heal themselves.
- The farm has organic fruit trees, medicinal herbs and flowers, and berry bushes that they share with local veterans.
- Founder John Mashie says that at the farm, they “continue their military mission of service before self.”
What used to be a farm for raising pigs has now become an organic, natural environment for former members of the military who has had struggles with depression, homelessness, and unemployment. Here, they not only produce nutritious foods but get to work in an environment of camaraderie where they can heal themselves.
Veterans who volunteer and stay at the farm not only learn new skills and find new purpose in their lives but also benefit from the healthy food that they helped in growing but also get to exercise and soak in all the Vitamin D they need for a healthy mind and body.
John Mashie, founder of the Veterans Healing Farm says that at the farm, they “continue their military mission of service before self,” which they do not get in civilian life after service.
He adds, “I wanted to create a community for fellow veterans who needed a sense of belonging. Here, veterans learn that they can trust other people and that they are valued,” Mashie explains. “The acts of growing and harvesting help them form friendships with people who share the same mission. It’s so gratifying to see these relationships form.”
Since 2014, the 9-acre land has been transformed into a lush farm of medicinal herbs and flowers, organic fruit trees, and berry bushes.
And in those 6 years, the farm and the veterans have already given away to local veterans and their caregivers, 35,000 pounds of produce and flowers.
For Mashie, it is not simply being able to produce and sharing these products to the veterans. “What we do is give veterans a new community that they can be a part of with other veterans, caregivers and civilians. The need is so significant. We grow plants, but we are growing much more than that. We cultivate life through building community.”
Mashie’s dream of creating “a community for fellow veterans who needed a sense of belonging and vision of growing a ‘healing farm’ because it’s just as important to feed the body as it is to feed the spirit,” has now become a reality.
Service before self, indeed.