In this picture, Air Force veteran John Mahshie peruses the anise hyssop and bee balm among the lush acres of Veterans Healing Farm, the Hendersonville nonprofit he runs with his wife Nicole on long-held family land. This summer, the Mahshies sowed an American Flag garden visible from the air, a bee & herb garden, and their usual bounty of fresh flowers, vegetables, and experimental crops.
The aim of Veterans Healing Farm is to help vets transition from military duty back into the civilian sector — especially soldiers trying to reintegrate to daily life while experiencing the physical and emotional fallout of service in war zones. Numerous interactive and therapeutic programs — including “Permatribe Farm Community,” “Veteran Adventures,” and equine therapy — distinguish the group.
The Mahshies, parents of two young children, are committed to progressive farm practices. They’ve also donated just-picked veggies every week to veterans at the regional VA Hospital, a central gathering place. At press time, the goal was to deliver 12,000 pounds of produce by the end of the harvest season.
“Additionally, we’ve broken ground on the construction of a community center made up of two shipping containers,” John reports. “We hope to have it completed within the month, and plan to use it as a retreat center for veterans.”
The Mahshies will name the new abode the Joshua McArdle Community Center — “in honor of a local vet who lost his life due to PTSD symptoms,” says John. “It will be used to host eight veterans at a time for a week-long boot-camp crash course in homesteading, organic farming, and other holistic disciplines.”
For more information on Veterans Healing Farm visit veteranshealingfarm.org or follow the group on Facebook. 19 Mahshie Lane, Hendersonville. 828-606-8212. firstname.lastname@example.org
BY MELANIE MCGEE BIANCHI BOLD LIFE MAGAZINE AUGUST 14, 2016
Surveying the Rows at Veterans Healing Farm
Photo by Tim Robison