The Colonels of Truth are a 6 member high energy bluegrass band out of Seattle. This band wasn’t formed by child hood friends nor was it formed in some magical meeting one night at a bar. Like good whiskey it was distilled over years of playing with many musicians at various jams, house parties, and festivals. These are the guys that at 2 am are the ones that think the jam is just getting going. These are the guys that drive 2 hours one way to regularly go to a jam. They took their time slowly gathering like minded individuals under one banner to create the Colonels of Truth. When these guys get on stage you can tell not only are they talented musicians, but they really enjoy making music together. While these musicians prefer playing bluegrass music, they have highly diverse musical backgrounds from classical, jazz, funk, reggae, Brazilian, and rock and they bring the best of all these styles under one roof, energy of a rock show, precision vocal and instrumental harmonies, off the cuff improvisation, funk and reggae jams. Colonels of Truth play traditional bluegrass standards, appalachian old-timey tunes, obscure newgrass tunes, and original tunes. All of the members are song writers and arrangers, some of them have even won awards in song writing contests, and they bring this creativity to their playing.

Justin Blotsky picks beets in Mt. Vernon, Washington on Wednesday, September 7, 2016. Photo by Clay Lomneth / The American Legion.

Justin Blotsky picks beets in Mt. Vernon, Washington on Wednesday, September 7, 2016. Photo by Clay Lomneth / The American Legion.

“I’ve known a lot of people who have been to combat and came back quite changed,” explained Kenny Holzemer, a 22-year retried navy air crewman and the executive director for of Growing Veterans.

Growing Veterans is a Washington-based organization that aims to help veterans successfully transition into civilian life through sustainable organic farming. Launched in 2012, co-founders Marine Corps veteran, Chris Brown, and mental health counselor, Christina Wolf, recognized that farming can be both a therapeutic activity for returning veterans and a way to explore a potential new career path.

“It’s a really great opportunity to bring the healing powers of nature to people,” explained Wolf. “And the healing powers of having a community of people who you can rely on.”

Recent studies have looked at the mental health benefits of gardening. But Wolf says she doesn’t need any scientific research to know farming can be therapeutic. “Those of us who do it just know instinctively that it helps us feel better. Researchers are like, ‘How can we study it and prove it?’ But it’s just something so innate to people. We just get it.”

The organization has also developed its own three-day peer-support training for staff members, volunteers, and anyone else interested in taking the course.

“As we were working with a lot of veterans on our farms, we found that a lot of people wanted to be kind of a support system for others, but they didn’t feel like they had the skills to do that,” explained Wolf. In addition to the veterans who enter the program as farmers and volunteers, veterans make up eighty percent of the organization’s staff.

“Our training is really on both sides. How to be a helper to someone else, and how to get help for yourself when you need it,” Wolf explained. “We just see that as a normal human experience. It’s not a bad thing for me to support you—it’s just a human thing. We all need that sometimes.”

Find out how to help Growing Veterans efforts at:

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, based in Washington, DC, advocates for clean energy solutions mostly on the federal level.  They recently filmed Congressman Reichert in his office about clean energy and its importance in Washington state.  He specifically mentioned Impact Bioenergy and used part of PSE‘s Pub HORSE video in their video as well.  Click below to watch.