Military veterans are a special breed. Women and men all over the country leave the services with dreams for their future. Perhaps she sat in a Humvee jotting down notes or drawing maps of a future farm. Or perhaps he talked to his squad members about his idea of starting a small vegetable farm in the Adirondacks. This is where NCAT’s Armed to Farm beginning farmer training program enters the picture.
The Armed to Farm program gives military veterans and their partners an opportunity to explore the realities of profitable, small-scale, regenerative farming as a viable career. These week-long intensive trainings bring veterans to the farm to get their hands dirty and feel what it’s like to operate diverse agricultural enterprises.
Armed to Farm gave me the tools to take my farm dream seriously and make it happen,” says one of the participants. “I can’t say if I would have had the confidence to get it going without Armed to Farm.”
Military veterans have been shaped by their experiences and possess a unique bond within their ranks. One participant recalls: “As a veteran of 26 years of service and with four combat tours, I am humbled to have the opportunity to learn with my fellow veterans.” Others note that the connection to a cadre of veterans, of all services, gives them a community and makes them a part of something bigger than themselves, while providing opportunities to ask questions and get feedback on their operations.
NCAT conducts Armed to Farm trainings all over the country. Here in the Northeast, veterans have attended workshops in Maine and New York, and NCAT specialists are planning more in the coming years. Military veterans who are interested in exploring a career in regenerative farming can apply to the program through the Armed to Farm website.
Once selected for a training, the participants will be notified, and they will be provided lodging, meals, and educational materials for the workshop.
“Armed to Farm cemented my belief that I wanted to pursue farming as my next entrepreneurial activity,” says another participant. “The information and exceptionally positive experience at Armed to Farm solidified my own goals and targeted my search for other resources which I can use to grow my farm.”
The next Armed to Farm workshop in the Northeast is scheduled for June 10-15, 2018, in Troy, NH. Registration is available on the Armed to Farm website.
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