Veterans returning home sometimes struggle to find a place where they feel like they belong. In Central Oregon, a ranch is supporting them with help from the land. Alison Perry founded Central Oregon Veterans Ranch. She’s a licensed trauma therapist with a brother who’s an active-duty helicopter pilot. Perry says veterans work together on the 19-acre farm, which started in 2015, as a form of “eco-therapy,” which has proven healing benefits. She calls the ranch “agri-therapy.”
|“Growing things, taking care of things and being connected to nature is really about fostering a sense of creativity being creative and participating in the creative process as opposed to what combat veterans are trained for, which is destruction.”|
The ranch includes a working greenhouse in partnership with the Oregon Department of Agriculture that sells produce to a local restaurant. And the property includes a four-bedroom home licensed as a foster home. Therapy is based on peer support, and the ranch hosts support groups for post-traumatic stress disorder and veterans-only A-A meetings.