Story by Alyssa Thurlow of WABI.
MONROE, Maine (WABI) “We have a saying in our family, better be lucky than good because we didn’t know half of what Maine does for it’s farmers.”
From the military to farming, you could say the owners of Chase Stream Farm had quite the career change.
These Washington D.C. natives knew nothing about farming until they moved to Maine.
“Our local community just welcomed us with open arms. The different policies and procedures that Maine has in place to support beginning farmers, veteran farmers, and they just really embrace that ethos of buy local, buy first.”
Joined by 30 veteran farmers, Anne and Tim got to share their do’s and don’ts.
While Maine has one of the highest veteran populations in the country, a new generation of farmers is needed to meet the growing demand.
“Here in New England there is an opportunity for lots of small mixed farm and mixed vegetable operations, and so this gives them an opportunity to come and have their own business, be their own boss. and, it requires them to be a jack of all trades.”
For the last week, the group has been touring local farms and learning about grants.
It’s an opportunity for them to become successful entrepreneurs while filling a need for healthy, local food in the state.
Something Congresswoman Chellie Pingree is happy to share with fellow farmers.
“We’ve got huge opportunities here. People want to buy their produce. The market is good. So, there is a transition that needs to be made and if you’ve got young people who have served in active duty and they’re coming back saying what’s my next career opportunity, it’s perfect.”
And for those looking to get in the business, these farmers have some simple advice.
“Don’t give up the ship. If that’s what you want to do, attack it with vigor just like you did in the military and you can do anything you want when you put your mind to it.”
At one time these men and women were serving our country. Now, they get to serve their communities in a different way.