By Jennifer Woolwine

Homesteading After Military Service: Discovering a New Purpose

Military Veterans

baghdad to barnyard

February 24, 2023

Coming home from active military service can be difficult, but homesteading may help veterans discover a new purpose. If you’re a veteran who is struggling with transitioning back into civilian life, homesteading may prove to be the perfect solution. Learn more about its potential benefits here!

What is Homesteading and Why Should Veterans Consider it after Military Service?

Homesteading is an old-fashioned but increasingly popular lifestyle that involves raising animals, growing vegetables, and becoming self-sufficient. This can be done in many different forms, from urban victory gardens to rural homesteads with acreage dedicated to raising animals and supplying food and making supplies like soap and clothing items.

Why should veterans consider homesteading after military service? Homesteading offers many positive mental health benefits to veterans by providing a meaningful purpose and giving them the opportunity to become part of a community.

Homesteading can help veterans ease into civilian life more smoothly and provide them with a sense of connection and accomplishment.

Health Benefits of Homesteading

Homesteading can be a powerful tool for veterans dealing with mental health disorders. From gardening to animal care, many of the activities that come with homesteading can provide numerous health benefits.

Gardeners can practice mindful meditation and cultivate calming habits that may help improve symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Additionally, animal care provides a purposeful activity that engages both mind and body.

Studies show physical activity is known to reduce stress levels and improve morale overall.

  • mindful meditation
  • fresh air and sunshine
  • better diet
  • purposeful exercise
  • better sleep
  • enhanced mood
  • reduced stress levels
  • improved mental health

The Practical Benefits of Homesteading for Veterans

Veterans who engage in homesteading can benefit from the sense of purpose and accomplishment that comes with self-sufficiency. Practical skill sets such as permaculture design, animal husbandry, and regenerative agriculture are learned as well.

Furthermore, homesteading includes land ownership or long-term rental agreements, and veterans can gain stability from having secure housing.

Homesteading offers a range of practical benefits for military veterans after service. These include the ability to develop job skills, save money through working with your own hands, build a sense of community and camaraderie with other veterans that share similar experiences.

In addition to these advantages, it can give them the chance to take charge of their own livelihood and run their own business. This provides veterans with an exciting new direction in life, without relying solely on military service. It can also benefit veterans mentally and emotionally by providing stability and security as they readjust to being a civilian again.

Economic Advantages for Veterans

Homesteading can bring a number of economic advantages after military service for veterans. With the ability to grow their own food or raise livestock at home, veterans can cut down on their food-related expenses and become self-sufficient.

Furthermore, selling products from their homesteads at local farmer’s markets can also be a great source of income for veterans. Veterans may also be eligible for grants and tax incentives when setting up a homestead, such as the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s Homegrown by Heroes program which provides financial support for those looking to start a farm business.

Security and Stability

Military veterans face unique challenges as they go through their transition to civilian life, but homesteading can provide them with a sense of security and stability as well as support healing from post-traumatic stress.

Homesteading allows veterans to build something lasting, while also providing them with an adequate food source and shelter. It is also a tranquil environment that offers flexibility when it comes to handling resources – giving those who are suffering from PTSD the chance to find peace and therapeutic relief.

Homestead Animal Care and Management Skills

Homesteading can be an excellent way for veterans to develop animal husbandry skills and become more comfortable with livestock.

With hard work and dedication, a homesteader can gain confidence in their abilities to care for animals, providing them with valuable life experience.

Veterans who are looking to become more self-sufficient and ensure minimal dependence on store-bought food, will need to learn the appropriate ways of feeding and caring for livestock such as chickens, cows, horses, or other larger animals.

Additionally, they should also be ready to recognize any possible illnesses that may occur quickly and how to treat them.

Stress Relief and Connecting With Nature

Homesteading also offers a way for veterans to connect and commune with nature, providing an easy outlet for stress relief, especially after military service.

Working on the land can be therapeutic helping veterans work through their thoughts and emotions in a safe environment. These connections to nature and its calming effects have been found to reduce stress, irritability and promote improved emotional well-being.

Working with animals has also been proven to offer many benefits for veterans. It can provide a sense of purpose, companionship, and reduce symptoms of trauma such as anxiety and depression.

Caring for an animal also encourages people to take better care of themselves and be more physically active, both of which contribute to improved mental health.

Connecting with Others Through Homesteading

Through homesteading, veterans have the chance to make connections with other people who have similar interests. Joining a homesteading community provides vets with an easy way to rebuild their social network after returning to civilian life.

This can be especially helpful for those suffering from PTSD or other mental health conditions that may cause them to feel isolated and removed from society.

By connecting with others in the homesteading community, veterans can find companionship and a sense of belonging after post-military life.

Happy Homesteading friend!

xo, Jen

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Jen Woolwine       Author

Jen is a combat veteran and wife who is passionate about animal rescue, homesteading, and mental health advocacy. Jen's amazing journey of transitioning from military service to homesteading can be followed on her blog and social media platforms @baghdadtobarnyard.

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