In the midst of the 2020 chaos we were hard at work formalizing our plan to launch our non-profit dedicated to helping Veterans rehabilitate through agriculture. This year we are happy to announce the launch of the Dauntless Veteran Foundation!
The mission for the Dauntless Veteran Foundation is simple, to train and equip veterans to translate their talents from the field to the farm. Broadly, our goal is to help Veterans rehabilitate and reintegrate through agriculture.
But why farming?
Simply because the median age of farmers in America is 58, and two out of every three retiring farmers are not being replaced. Youth are not getting into agriculture; forcing family farms to sell to “big-ag”. This perpetuates food insecurity with supply chains relying on “just-in-time” produce, which is highly wasteful, and makes communities reliant and unprepared.
Veterans are needed now more than ever to maintain food security for the nation. Soldiering and farming have been intertwined for millennia because both require hard work and attention to detail; while tending the land is perhaps one of the oldest methods of post-war therapy. Holistic farming is a perfect therapeutic and professional alternative for Veterans to find peace and a meaningful occupation. Studies have shown that healthy soil is home to billions of probiotic bacteria that can regulate mood and mitigate the symptoms of PTSD through the release of serotonin via the gut (or lung) to brain pathway. Not only that, soil can act as a tactile therapy which can help relieve the symptoms of TBI (source).
But how can we get veterans on to their own farms? The barriers to entry seem enormous for any aspiring farmer. The USDA requires experience and veterans need access to land, Dauntless Veteran Foundation offers both.
Through our network of interdependent farms we will provide veterans interested in agriculture the necessary experience to qualify for their own first time farmer loan. We will also offer job placement opportunities with our partners that exist throughout the entire agriculture supply chain. The great thing about agriculture, and viticulture in particular, is that farms are becoming more vertically integrated and have plenty of Agricultural Occupational Specialties to choose from. From sales, to machinery, to value added production, the options are far and wide!
Dauntless Veteran Foundation programs and resources will promote pro-social behavior, strengthen relationships and interpersonal skills, foster strong intrapersonal awareness, and help reintegrate veterans into their community. Only through personal relationships can a sense of individual and community responsibility be re-established. This will help veterans commit to a path to a self-sufficient life with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Ben is also a mentor on Veterati - America's mentoring network for the Military. The #1 challenge for Veterans is finding a job. 1.5 million transitioning Veterans and 5.5 million military spouses are unemployed or under-employed. Mentorship fits directly in to our mission, and if you are interested in becoming a mentee then register on Veterati and book an appointment here. Ben also serves in focus groups for the Returning Veterans Project, a Portland, OR based non-profit that provides free, confidential mental and physical health services to post-9/11 war zone veterans, service members, and their families in Oregon and Southwest Washington.