Military veterans are known for their tenacity and hard work, but coming back to civilian life after their tour is over is often a hard transition. So when former Marine, Colin Archipley, began tending avocado trees in California, the idea emerged that others could put their discipline and dedication to use in green careers too.
The Los Angeles Times reports how Archipley’s success has grown into the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training, an organization that “helps combat-experienced post-9/11 veterans get a new lease on life by working the land.”
Jason Rich, former soldier and current farmer, told the LA Times that farming can help heal, saying, “It’s meditational in some ways.”
Archi’s Acres, founded by Archipley and his wife, has expanded to growing herbs and greens in addition to avocados, and has local vendors including Whole Foods. They were one of 75 farmers and retailers at a Santa Monica career fair urging veterans to consider green careers.
Michael O’Gorman, executive director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, which organized the career fair, said, “Creating a new generation of farmers and food people out of our returning veterans can... give those at risk of being lost the renewed mission and purpose they need, and the respect -- and even heroism -- that they deserve.”
Another program, “Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots” was founded by Iraq veteran Garrett Dwyer and the deans at the University of Nebraska’s College of Techinical Agriculture and aims to help veterans put their leadership and discipline into farming while also solving the problem of depletion as more residents move to cities. The program also offers education, both on-campus and at a distance, and hopes to partner with other agricultural colleges in the future.
Image by Farmer Veteran CoalitionTweet