Army veteran finds peace and purpose at the Evergreen Organic Farm

Organic Farm

After serving in the U.S. army for four years, Jeremy Lankenau is utilizing Evergreen’s five-acre Organic Farm to calm his life and mind. The transition has helped him find an effective therapy for his post-traumatic stress disorder.

“After Afghanistan, I was lost,” Jeremy says. “I lost quite a few years due to coping with PTSD and traumatic brain injury. I drank a lot to try to cope.”

His wife, Kami Lankenau, was determined to help her partner, and through much convincing, Jeremy joined her in enrolling at Evergreen.

“She started sharing articles and talking to me about how growing things and not destroying things is very therapeutic,” Jeremy remembers. “Now here I am; she was right.”

At Evergreen, the two are combining their backgrounds in business, Jeremy’s military-instilled efficiency, and their knowledge of farming to contribute to the college’s Organic Farm and discover new methods of growing food.

“The process of getting rid of the things in the plant’s lives that cause problems-like disease, too much rain, weeds, competing plants- is very applicable to my own life psychologically,” Jeremy says.

Kami and Jeremy are currently finishing a three quarter program called “Practice of Organic Farming.” Taught by faculty member David Muehleisen, the program educates students on the science and methods of organic farming and food production. It requires students to grow crops and help maintain the landscape at the farm.

“There’s something therapeutic about putting your hands in soil, watching a seed grow, harvesting, and sharing it with people.” Jeremy says. “You’re just really proud of it. You get to help people.”

Organic Farm

Kami Lankenau and son Elihu Lankenau, 9, pick raspberries. Top: Jeremy Lankenau tends to tomatoes at the Organic Farm.