Thursday, July 25, 2024

Tatley Outpost offers veterans a place to farm, in agriculture, healing

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PATEROS – A new website launched on Veterans Day this month signals the latest chapter in an innovative farming, training, healing and community service project located three miles north of Pateros on Watson Road.

Tatley Outpost (www.tatleyoutpost.com) debuted online as a veteran operated ranch creating global impact through a community approach but has actually been evolving since the Carlton Complex wildfire swept through the property in July 2014.

Owner David Overcash of Woodinville, a technology entrepreneur and community activist, had a vision of rebuilding what was left of Tatley Farms literally from the ashes as an avenue to help military veterans find opportunities to live, heal, share, and learn new skills in an agriculture setting.

The Quad first reported on what was then called Project Phoenix in September 2017, when fruit crops and infrastructure was taking shape on a portion of the Tatley Farms acreage.

Since then two families have taken up residence at Tatley Outpost, each being their own dreams and skills to expand the enterprise into even more fields of expertise and community service.

Army veteran Tim Andrews, with wife, Amy, runs the day-to-day operations on the property as he develops a hydroponics/aquaculture specialty. A large shipping container on site will be used for mushroom production, and many areas of the property are designated as future sites for everything from hops to vegetables and livestock products for sale to area businesses and beyond. A new greenhouse will allow year-round vegetable production to meet the demand for locally grown produce.

Fellow Army veteran Brandon Kuehn, with wife, Nikki, and 11-year--old son, Gabe, relocated from their home town of Cottage Grove, Oregon.

Last Monday, the Kuehn’s were allowing three Yorkshire pigs they had just acquired to clean up was left of a tomato and pepper garden. Nearby, a new flock of chickens was sorting out the pecking order and beginning to lay eggs that will be purchased by Sweet River Bakery in Pateros.

“I love it out here; I love the people out here,” said Brandon who added that Gabe “absolutely loves” the Pateros school.

Kuehn brings certifications in CPR and EMT skills and, along with farm work to supplement the income, will be working with veterans on peer-to-peer support training beginning next year.

In the meantime, Overcash is working with Okanogan County and other groups to construct veteran housing on the property.

Overcash was named to the Puget Sound Business Journal’s annual 40 under 40 list in 2010 and currently serves as a board member of The Forty, an alumni network of Greater Seattle area visionary business people. He was inspired to devote a portion of Tatley Farms to veterans’ causes following service with a Medical Teams International mission to Guatemala.

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