About Veterans Farm
Founder, Adam Burke was recognized in 2011 by The Good People Fund as the “Good Person of the Year” for his work in the community.
Our mission is to help disabled combat veterans reintegrate back into society through the use of horticulture therapy, while working together in a relaxed, open environment. Veterans will work as a team to develop solutions that will enable them to overcome physical and mental barriers..
America’s farms are facing a crisis for lack of young people going into agriculture. Most statistics point to the average American farmer being between 57 and 60 years old with two farmers retiring for every one entering the field.
Our goal is to help fill this gap by partnering with organizations like Farmers Veterans Coalition to assist disabled veterans in obtaining the resources to start their own farm or to work with larger farming organizations.
We want to make a connection between our veterans and the civilian community at large. The way we do this is by:
1) Having disabled veterans grow and sell fruits and vegetables at farmers markets, U-pick and commercial markets. This will help them to become more comfortable socializing with the public.
2) To show the public that veterans and disabled veterans can be successful working in the civilian world.
3) To educate the community about the health benefits of eating organic food. We want to follow a model that will help create a healthier nation. Who better to lead the way than our Nation’s veterans?
4) To provide a combination of work, therapy, education and socialization to help veterans reintegrate into society through sustainable agriculture training.
5) To collaborate and work with local farmers, organic associations, community business leaders and the University of Florida agriculture department.
6) To collaborate with the Veterans Affairs (WTP) work therapy program.
The farm was started by Sgt Adam Burke, an OIF/OEF combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient who was wounded in battle during a 15 month tour in Iraq.
In 2009, Adam was moved, when he noticed a young able and willing veteran sitting in the mall hungry and depressed. He could see the veteran was too proud to ask for help and knew he had to find a way to help his fellow soldiers. Just a hand out would not be sufficient, but a sustainable way to get their life back on track was the key. This is where the concept to combine therapy, work, education, and socialization through growing blueberries and blackberries was discovered.
Robert Brown, disabled veteran and President of “Healing Families Ministries”
“This is one of the greatest projects I’ve ever been involved in; nobody else is providing this type of therapy on such a large scale for our disabled veterans. For the first time in 6 winters I was able to overcome my depression from PTSD while working at the Veterans Farm.”
Dr. Cid Nazir, Neurologist
“Picking blueberries is a form of physical therapy that will help veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries to regain hand eye coordination, as well as develop cognitive skills”.
Denise W Bull, PHD
“Managing this business will enhance veterans sense of well being by improving their decision-making and problem-solving skills. Assisting other veterans should foster a sense of responsibility and improved self-esteem”.
Dr. Richard Corcoran, MD
“I expect veterans will be able to derive great improvement in their cognitive and motor skills, as well as enhanced self esteem, and confidence from this type of horticulture therapy”.
Patrick Sanders, Disabled OIF/OEF combat veteran.
“The Veterans Farm saved my life and my home from foreclosure. Since working at the Veterans farm I have been able to do something the doctors said I’d never be able to do and that’s quit the pain medications. Because I have a place to decompress I have even since quit smoking. Today the future is bright for me and my family”.