Read the full article: Training Our Protectors to be Providers
Veterans to Farmers (VTF) is a Denver-based non-profit that tackles two complex issues in highly innovative ways. Since the U.S. began withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan in 2009, scores of men and women have returned home to look for work within the civilian sector. Finding and maintaining employment is not often easy, for many reasons.
Simultaneously, throughout the United States, there has been a drastic increase in the demand for locally and sustainably grown foods, particularly in urban areas. Americans are beginning to awaken to the destruction caused by the industrialized, globalized food system, and to seek alternatives that reduce carbon output.
VTF transforms “protectors” into “providers,” by delivering training in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), an emerging body of technologies that allows growers to produce high-yield, nutrient dense fruits and vegetables in a tailored indoor environment (primarily greenhouses).
Through a series of partnerships currently in development, veterans who complete the training will be eligible for employment and even franchise ownership of a greenhouse business.
The model is quickly gaining traction and national attention, and has the potential to revolutionize the way we feed our communities. Veterans to Farmers is redefining homeland security as food security, and deploying just the right people for the job—and perhaps just in time. As Michael O’Gorman, Director of Farmer-Veteran Coalition forewarns, “The wars of this century are not going to be about oil, they’re going to be about food and water and farmland.”