Veterans

Cathie Dibert at work in her raised beds located on a hillside in Blair County, PA. The ground would otherwise be unusable.

AgrAbility PA provides resources and services to men and women who are battling a long-term health condition or disability - sometimes because of their military service - but who want to return to or begin working in production agriculture.

Cathie Dibert, owner of Green"er" Acres Farm and a veteran, has made the move into agricultural farming after her military service. Read her success story.

  • 2% of Americans are farmers, and 2% of Americans serve in the military.
  • Some 41% of veterans live in rural America.
  • More than 5 million U.S. veterans live with a disability.
  • Many veterans have shared that there are lots of similarities between military life and agriculture life.
  • Many occupations and hobbies are available in agriculture for individuals with disabilities, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For more information about how AgrAbility PA works with veterans, contact us at AgrAbility@psu.edu or (814) 867-5288.

Resources for Veterans & Farmers

Farmer Veteran Coalition: a national program dedicated to helping mobilize veterans on a national level to increase their awareness of agriculture and to help them break into the agricultural industry

PA Veteran Farming Project: a resource hub for those who have served. Connecting honorably discharged Veterans, Guard, and Reserve members with agriculture resource

USDA New Farmers: a resources to get connected to training opportunities, program and career resources, and read stories about other veterans in farming

Homegrown by Heroes: the official farmer veteran branding program of America. The HBH logo serves to inform consumers that products donning the logo were produced by military veterans.

PA Veteran Resource Guide: a consolidated listing of programs, benefits, and services for veterans and their families in Pennsylvania

The Veterans Urban Farming Project: dedicated to a two goals: enabling female and male veterans with the ability to derive the full range of financial benefits from self-sufficiency and to overcome the emotional, mental, and physical scars of war while transitioning back to civilian life

National AgrAbility Project: dozens of resources available for veterans with a disability or long-term health condition that are interested in agriculture.

Take a look at this video for veterans entering agriculture!

Veteran-run Training Programs

  • Operation Groundwork www.operationgroundwork.org, located in North Salem, IN.Created by an Air Force veteran on Blue Yonder Organic Farm; they offer training programs for veterans interested in sustainable agriculture: "Sustainable farming can play a unique role in the recovery of the physical, spiritual, and psychological wounds from war. As military Veterans, we have a new mission: to serve our country through sustainable food production!"
  • Archi's Acres VSAT Program archisacres.com/page/vsat-programArchi's Acres was created in 2006 by a former combat Marine and his entrepreneurial wife with just two objectives in mind. They wanted to develop a business that would provide business ownership opportunity for veterans and to create a viable sustainable organic produce farm business. Their specialized program for veterans or Veteran's Sustainable Agriculture Training (VSAT) is an agriculture entrepreneurial incubator that takes students from seed to market. It has a variety of different options when it comes to training. They offer a six week full time course and a fourteen week night and weekend course. The courses teach hydroponics, greenhouse management, irrigation, organic farming, and business planning. Participants receive a certificate of completion from Cal Poly, follow-up with former teachers, resume building, understanding in a farm loan program, and they learn more about the farm ownership/management process.
  • Veterans Farm veteransfarm.comVeterans Farm is a national program that helps veterans reestablish themselves back into civilian life through the use of the Beginner Farmer Fellowship Program. Veterans work as a team in a relaxed, open environment to overcome mental and physical barriers that they may possess. They learn how to start their own farms or work on larger ones. The goal is to help fill the gap that's retiring farmers are leaving in American agriculture.
  • Veterans to Farmers veteranstofarmers.orgThe Veterans to Farmers program focuses on providing veterans of mainly the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts with pride, education, and fulfillment through a permanent source of sustainable income, community, and contribution. In 2009, it was started by a Marine who recognized a growing need to help veterans. There is a 10,000 sq. ft. training center in Denver, Colorado that provides a physical location to train veterans in aeroponics and hydroponics, different growing techniques, maintenance/construction, and business ownership. The food grown there is sold directly to the consumer through a CSA model.
  • Growing Veterans growingveterans.orgGrowing Veterans helps veterans learn the trade of agriculture through hands-on participation. They help with the transition from military to civilian life while working with other partners to provide resources to veterans including employment, volunteering, internships, and fellowships. They are not limited to the farm but focus on community outreach as well.
  • Growing Warriors growingwarriors.orgGrowing Warriors is a national program that helps teach veterans and communities to grow and preserve their own food while partnering with local organizations to create hands-on curriculum to veterans and their families in a community garden setting. This allows for more personal interaction between the communities and veterans and allows veterans to adjust back into civilian life.
  • Warriors and Veterans to Agriculture www.facebook.com/pages/Veterans-and-Warriors-to-AgricultureWarriors and Veterans in Agriculture is another program where veterans work with other fellow veterans to learn about agricultural practices and to help them learn how to harvest crops for food. They help identify veterans, market farm products, build the brand, seek property, cooperate with the VA, work in rehabilitation sites, and help create long-term growth environments for veterans.
  • Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture www.arcadiafood.org/veteran-farmer-programArcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture has a three-fold plan to help better veterans lives and develop professional skills in agriculture. The Veteran Farmer Reserve Program is for veterans interested in exploring agriculture without committing to a full-time training program. This 10-month program will meet one weekend a month, one week during planting, and one week during harvest. The Veteran Farm Fellowship Program will be a two-year, on-farm training program. Up to five Veteran Farm Fellows will be paid to study and work full time at Arcadia Farm for one year, and will participate in all aspects of Arcadia's farm including food access and distribution, sourcing, working with local chefs and retailers, and farm and nutrition education. Arcadia is also developing a small incubator farm with shared equipment at Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria that is expected to be open in 2017-2018 to Veteran Farm Fellows.
  • The F.A.R.M. (Farmers Assisting Returning Military), a Veterans Organization located in Desoto, Texas. www.farmvet.orgThey do sustainable farm therapy and TBI/PTSD Therapy reintegration through agricultural internships and career opportunities.