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Growing Veterans

Last year, an Afghanistan war veteran who had decided to kill himself drove to a century-old farm in the evergreen foothills of Skagit County, Wash., as a final trip before he died. A friend had long encouraged him to visit the former dairy operation turned organic vegetable farm. No pressure. No expectations. Just a chance to hang out with fellow veterans as they planted seeds, pulled weeds and harvested produce.

That first visit was followed by a second, a third and then several more, until Collin McInnis was focused on bringing life out of the soil rather than taking his own. These are the fruits of Growing Veterans, a small but potent nonprofit in northwest Washington co-founded by a former member of the 2/7 Marines – which has the highest suicide rate among young male veterans – and a civilian mental health counselor who turned to farming to ease her own stress…

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