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Farmer Veteran Coalition – Mobilizing Veterans To Feed America

by Fariya Khan
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Farmer Veteran Coalition

With many parades and gatherings being canceled this Veterans Day, a campaign to honor veterans is taking to social media. #VeteransDay has taken on in a big way and organizers hope it will bring togetherness and attention toward those who have served and sacrificed. Many businesses are also offering deals for vets, here is a look at a specially curated list of Veterans Day deals in Texas. 

Formerly Armistice Day, Veterans Day is when the nation comes together to recognize and honor the hard work of our former service members who are no longer in the military. Living veterans, whether they served for a year or half their life, are the reason for the season.

Many U.S veterans, after their return, have turned towards another form of service to the country. The service of feeding America. Both combat and farming require intense physical demands and a meticulous routine-it makes for a great fit for veteran natures; hardworking and devoted.

Recognizing this need to encourage, educate, and empower veterans in the field of agriculture and farming are organizations like Farmer Veteran Coalition, whose mission is to mobilize veterans in sustainable farming jobs.

History Of Farmer Veteran Coalition

The Farmer Veteran Coalition was founded by Michael O’ Gorman, an organic farmer with 40 plus years of experience. The idea of opening up our farms for those returning from war, struck Michael, and that is how the coalition was born.

Starting out with a dozen or so veterans that he was able to work with, mentor and guide, FVC’s initial years were a learning curve.

However, with support from the USDA, The American Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit Council and National Agrability Project, FVC grew leaps and bounds and on this very day, Veterans Day in 2013, FVC attained the sole license to promote and certify Homegrown by Heroes in all fifty states.

Farmer Veteran Coalition Today

FVC continues to develop and grow in number of member veterans and projects, to help assist various services to any veteran who wishes to join at any phase of their career.

The FVC mission is to cultivate a generation of farmers and food leaders and develop viable and meaningful careers through the alliance of farming and military communities.

Programs Run By FVC

Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund

A grant program that provides direct assistance to veterans for setting up of their farm or ranch. Read more about it here.

Homegrown By Heroes

Homegrown by Heroes is the official farmer veteran branding program of America. Through this brand, farmers, ranchers, fishermen of military background are certified to sell their products as veteran owned and produced. If you are a veteran farmer, looking to get certified by HBH, follow this link.

Apprenticeships

This program is an ‘on the job’ training opportunity and is a great way to begin the first step towards a career in agriculture.

Beginner level farmers are provided with a small plot of land on a larger farm, where they have access to equipment and materials an opportunity to observe farming techniques of experts.

The FVC also provides training programs that are centered around a curriculum, involving theoretical and practical classes. Some of the current training programs available are:

  • Beginning farm and ranch management apprenticeship program
  • Dairy grazing apprenticeship program
  • and other related instruction programs

Farmer Veteran Coalition In Texas

Today, with more than 1.5 million veterans in Texas alone, and the Lone Star State being the leader in the number of farms and ranches in the country, agriculture can prove to be an important source of income for veterans, especially since the Pandemic has created a soar in unemployment.

The Texas chapter of FVC seeks to connect active military members, veterans and their families with other veteran farming resources. Partnerships with different organizations like Battle ground to breaking ground, Texas Agrability and the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service are designed to assist Texan veteran farmers in achieving their after service goals.

On the occasion of veteran’s day, Texasrealfood is honored to highlight few local Texan veteran owned farms and ranches that have long been associated with Farmer Veteran Coalition.

Cleaton’s 4 E Farms

Off of US190, in Kempner Texas, a cozy family/disabled veteran owned farm, Cleaton’s 4 E farms, produces seasonal vegetables and herbs. 20 years active duty veteran and owner, Damon is also a mentor for the Texas A&M Battleground to Breaking ground veterans’ program, USDA NRCS new hires and more.

With winter on its way, the farm is going to feature a new greenhouse so Damon can increase the volume and variety of nursery plants by next season.

“As a veteran farmer it is a joy for me to continue to serve my community by providing local produce, plants, and help people learn to grow their own too! It’s especially important to me that I can also continue to work with other veterans through other organizations. It’s a great feeling to collaborate with vets in agriculture because we are all working together with a common goal of feeding people!” – Damon Cleaton, Cleaton’s 4E Farms

ARTillery Avenues Farm

Having served 10.5 years on active duty in the US army, Rachel Mims has now turned to Therapy through art and horticulture. Her farm inspires healthy living by connecting people to food, nature, and arts. Rachel says, “Art and horticulture are both things that have helped me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I want to use my farm to help others discover the healing power of art and nature.

Being a veteran helps me with farming because I keep going even when things don’t work out how I anticipated. It also gives me confidence to try things that others may not even attempt. Farming gets me out in nature and allows me give back to the land.  That is one of the main reasons I became a beekeeper; so that I could do something good for the earth.”

CD&J Mini Ranch

Run by veterans, David and Cynthia, CD&J mini ranch is all about life’s little joys. With several miniature animals like Nigerian dwarf goats, miniature cattle, miniature donkeys, miniature bourbon red and midget white turkeys, CD&J mini ranch is a wonderful place for children to gain educational experiences and families to hold events. All their produce is free grazed, GMO free, hormone free and antibiotic free.

Here are other Veteran Owned Farms in Texas you should know about !

TexasRealFood wishes our veterans and everyone a happy Veteran’s Day!

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