- Associated Press - Monday, April 27, 2015

MCALESTER, Okla. (AP) - Ingrid Huffman is a war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder and a farmer who insists on producing food without genetically modified organisms (GMOs.)

What do the two have in common? Huffman believes veterans can gain valuable therapy working in a natural environment, and she knows from experience - working through many of her own PTSD-related challenges by farming. With this in mind, Huffman and her 19-year-old daughter, Alexis Goodwill, have formed Blue Winds Dancing Ranch just west of Haileyville, as a place for veterans to go to work for therapy.

“It gives people an ability to create,” Huffman said. “After being out fighting for your life, being able to create is healing.”

Huffman is a veteran of both the Navy and Army Nurse Corps. Huffman served in the Navy and retired from service prior to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Huffman re-enlisted with the Army when the US decided to send troops, the McAlester News-Capital (http://bit.ly/1Gciuzd ) reports.

“Christmas Day of ‘04 I kissed my daughters goodbye and walked away for a year,” Huffman said.

Huffman says she was not fighting, but putting people back together in combat zones. The intense stress she faced led her to develop PTSD. Personally knowing the struggles associated with PTSD gave Huffman a heart to reach out to her fellow veterans.

“Ultimately I’d like to see hard structures for veterans to come stay for a weekend if they need to,” Huffman said. “To get away if they need to … anything to help them heal.”

The BWD Ranch is designed to allow veterans opportunities to farm various vegetables, work with animals and even construct greenhouses or work on standing structures like a barn or cabin.

“We’re totally chemical free, non-GMO,” Huffman said. “We only have vegetables (right now), but I’ll be putting in fruit trees, berry bushes, nuts, heritage hogs for healthy meats and ultimately bison.”

BWD Ranch hopes to sell some of the products produced and grown on the ranch. Goat milk, duck eggs, homemade soaps and natural ointments are marketed by Huffman and Goodwill.

Goodwill works primarily with the animals on the ranch. Donkeys, goats, ducks and dogs call BWD home. Five goat kids were born on the ranch in the past two weeks. Goodwill hopes to be able to gather a lot of milk with two new goat mothers currently producing. Duck eggs can be bought from the ranch, and they taste just like chicken eggs, Goodwill said.

“(We want) to have such quality products that we’re known,” Huffman said.

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