If you haven’t heard of the Veterans Farm at Orting, you’re not alone. No one has, because six months ago, it didn’t exist.
Sure, it was an idea, a thought, a conversation among members of the Veterans Conservation Corps (VCC). But the scale of the project was enormous and the budget was zero. With no plan and no money, there was no way to build a program with the opportunity to impact the lives of veterans and their families through Eco-therapy, agripreneurship and habitat restoration. No way to share information on the many veterans programs and services that could help with the transition from military to civilian life. No way to provide permaculture classes that would lead to sustainable gardening and farming practices while growing organic food, preserving natural wetlands and re-introducing native species. These were big plans that needed big budgets and years to put them in place… or were they?
Between September 2015 and today, more than 500 volunteers have spent over 2,000 hours turning a field into a farm. The Veterans Farm at Orting is happening and it’s happening because of the support veteran and community volunteers.
And regardless of who the volunteers are or where they’re from, it always seems to happen the same way. A dirt-covered, sweaty volunteer leans on their shovel, looks back toward the farm plots, takes a deep breath, and under the watchful eye of Mt. Rainier says to the person next to them, “Do you know what I’d do with one of these half-acre plots?”.
That’s when you know they get it. They understand what the VCC is doing at the Veterans Farm, and they want to be a part of it. The Veterans Farm is a blank canvas and it sparks the ingenuity and creativity in all of us. It brings out ideas and passions we didn’t know we had. Countless volunteers have said they had no interest in farming until they spent time at the Veterans Farm and connected to nature in a new way.
The Veterans Farm at Orting provides several opportunities for veterans and community members. Permaculture classes are held regularly and open to the entire community. There are also 6 half acre farm plots which will be available to veterans willing to take the responsibility for cultivating the land. You can find out more at the Veterans Conservation Corps site or by contacting Jason Alves at 360-725-2224, firstname.lastname@example.org.
So please come out and answer this question for yourself “What would you do with a half-acre and couldn’t fail”?