A Call to Farms: Two-day event teaches war veterans how to farm

Many tout the healing benefits of farming, but one group that particularly benefits from the physical rehabilitation, connection of mind, and ability to make a living that come from a life of agriculture are veterans returning from war. At the end of this month (August 19 – 21) a two and a half day retreat that introduces war veterans to the ins and outs of sustainable farming will be held in Elkins Park. In a pleasing play on words, the transformative event is called “A Call to Farms.”

The retreat will focus on intensive crop production workshops, and include farm tours; hands-on learning at small-scale fruit, vegetable, and cut flower operation; plus presentations on sustainable soil management, crop production techniques, farm planning, and the marketing of goods. Both veteran and active military members are invited, but interested participants are urged to register ASAP, as there are only 24 spots open to military personnel and their families.

The Farmer-Veteran Coalition (FVC), the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), and the Risk Management Agency of the USDA have led the organization and planning of the event. The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) is appropriately handling the farm tours, logistics and presentation.

This PA retreat is the fifth in a series of free events nation wide that have played matchmaker between veterans and farming; creating many love connections that have resulted in committed agricultural relationships. Held in Arkansas, Iowa, and LA the previous retreats focused on organic and sustainable agriculture, urban agriculture, and sustainable poultry. Plus, as with this month’s, went by catchy, clever titles including “Coming Home to Farm” and “Armed to Farm.”  

Local veterans interested in applying for the retreat can contact Chris Ritthaler at the Farmer Veteran Coalition: 530-756-1395 or chris@farmvetco.org

"A Call to Farms"

August 19 – 21

Seva Retreat

1750 Ashbourne Rd., Elkins Park