Warrior Farms: A Veteran Sanctuary for Healing, Growth and Bees

The Feed a Bee grant program provides much-needed forage and habitat across the country, helping bees to pollinate and thrive in collaboration with organizations that also have a focus on pollinator health. One such organization is a veteran healing farm located in Dahlonega, Georgia, a blooming environment that emphasizes the impact of beekeeping both on crop production and therapeutic rehabilitation.

Warrior Farms was founded in 2014 with a focus on assisting local veteran farmers with acquiring all the tools and know-how they needed to get back on their feet upon returning home, often while also working through PTSD or anxiety. In 2017, founder Chris Dorsey realized he could make an even bigger impact by breaking ground on his own farm and becoming a hub for agri-therapy with the dual purpose of establishing additional forage for pollinators like honey bees.

Today the farm has expanded into a six-acre operation that offers a communal space for gardening, farm tours, and classes on pollinator health and plant propagation. Over the last two years, more than 200 veterans have worked with the farm. Warrior Farms also collaborates with other organizations that share a passion for education others on bee health. Their efforts have made a remarkable impact on not only local veterans but also the community at large.

When asked why he uses agriculture as a form of therapy for veterans, Chris says the answer is simple: “Growing is healing.” To overcome any situation, one must grow and adapt over time. That personal growth is set in motion through the veterans’ hands-on work on the farm and measured by each fruit and vegetable these heroes bring to life.

Digging in a Pollinator Garden for Veterans

The cause is one that’s close to Chris’s heart. As a veteran who struggled with PTSD after returning home from duty, he knew he had an incredible opportunity to make a difference for other heroes who needed a helping hand. In 2017, Chris applied for a Feed a Bee grant after hearing about the program from a similarly dedicated organization and fellow grantee, Doc’s Healing Hives and Honey.

Warrior Farms stood out among many applications and was hand-selected by the Feed a Bee Steering Committee to receive funding to establish additional forage acreage. With the grant, Chris and his team plan to select native plants and flowers from a local university and create additional pollinator habitat throughout their property.

Beekeeper Tending Bees in a Veteran Garden

The farm’s ongoing goal is to expand indefinitely on pollinator habitat, growing not only the amount of forage on their farm but the veterans who work together to keep the movement alive. Their project stretches further than just the beautiful blooms on their farmland; it reaches into the backyards of their community, as well.

To see the great work of Warrior Farms in action, check out our Featured Planting: Warrior Farms video, and share your thoughts with us using #FeedABee.