Veteran-Operated Training Farms

Useful Documents
Download Veteran Careers in Agriculture: A Resource Guide (.pdf) 
Whether you are just beginning you career in agriculture or you are a seasoned Farmer Veteran, this guide provides useful information on everything from training opportunities to business plans to organizations that can support your agriculture venture. There is a vast range of career opportunities in the agriculture industry, this guide can help you determine which route to take.

Download 2014 Farm Bill Benefits for Veterans (.pdf)
Here’s an excellent writeup from the Farmer Veteran Coalition and Drake University explaining the 2014 Farm Bill and how it applies to Veteran Farmers.

The following listings are a launchpad for your own research. These teaching farm opportunities are run by veterans for veterans. Do your own due diligence. Some programs have been operating for years, some are just beginning.  Some cost money, some  have scholarships, some pay a stipend, some qualify for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.   Whether you want weekend workshops or a full-time certification program, want to farm row crops or heritage breed livestock, greenhouse growing or rural landscapes, there’s a wide variety available. We hope this helps you along your way. 


CA / CO / CT / FL / IA / KY / MI / NE / NM / PA / WA


Arizona:   Lucky Nickel Ranch                                                                                                          


Eloy, AZ

Michael McKenzie (USMC) President

Certified Organic Produce Incubator Farm. Our mission is to help veterans reintegrate bcd into society through the use of our Beginning Farmer Co-Op Program.  Through our training fellowship program veterans will learn the skills and gain the education they need to start their own local farm or to work for larger farming organizations. Opportunities in mentoring, mechanical skill development, aquaponics systems, greenhouse production and sustainability.  Partnering with the University of Arizona Extension, Arizona state Univ. College of Sustainability, Veteran Advocacy Center of Arizona, Value our Veterans and the Farmer Veteran Coalition to increase the accessibility to fresh food in our Sonoran Desert through CSAs, farmers markets and food banks.

California:  Archi’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture   (formerly Archi’s Acres & Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training)
Valley Center, CA
Colin (USMC) & Karen Archipley, Founders

Archi’s Institute For Sustainable Agriculture trains transitioning service men and women to be successful in the sustainable agriculture industry. More than 300 graduates have left our farm ready to help feed our nation the highest quality food available using the least amount of natural resources, while tapping into a fast growing sector with unique opportunities for small business’s and family farms.  We assist with the job placement and business creation after classes end. Our graduates include successful farm owners and workers, soil-testing pioneers, restaurateurs, and owners of food companies.  (Take time to surf their site for all the opportunities they offer.)


California:  Farmer Veteran Coalition


4614 Second St. #4, Davis, CA 95618

Michael O’Gorman, Founder & Director

Farmer Veteran Coalition is the leading national effort connecting veterans to agriculture. Their mission to cultivate new generations of farmers and agricultural leaders has helped thousands of veterans turn their farming dreams into meaningful and economically viable careers.

Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) advises veterans about agricultural education, on-farm training, business and financial planning, USDA programs, and promotes veterans’ businesses through its Homegrown by Heroes Marketing Program. The FVC also awards small grants to eligible farmers veterans though their Fellowship Fund.

Farmer Veteran Coalition’s mission is rooted in an understanding that (1) veterans possess distinct skills from the military that are essential for creating sustainable food systems in our country; and (2) that food production offers purpose, opportunity, physical and therapeutic benefits.


California:  Teaching Gardens (School Garden Projects) – American Heart Association


816 So. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90017

Randy Ryan, Veteran & Teaching Gardens Manager

The American Heart Association is taking a new approach in the fight against childhood obesity. We’ve teamed with noted child-nutrition activist and philanthropist Kelly Meyer to create the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens planted in elementary schools across the country that become real-life learning laboratories for students to learn what it means to be healthy.

Aimed at first graders through fifth, we teach children how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits. Garden-themed lessons teach nutrition, math, science and other subjects all while having fun in the fresh air and working with your hands. Together, we can dramatically change the way America thinks about and consumes food.

Colorado:   Veteran Homestead Project


14179 Hwy. 140, Hesperus, CO 81326

Edit Aquarian, founder

Veterans Homestead Project brought Savory Institute’s training series to our farmer/rancher/homesteader community, to stop desertification through large scale grassland regeneration using Holistic (Livestock) Management. A series of 13-day trainings, on 265 acres, with hands-on training in managed rotational grazing & soil restoration. VHP’s mission is to provide American combat veterans instruction in regenerative agriculture practices. VHP ensures a path for veterans which not only supports reintegration to civilian life but also leads to a sustainable future of food.

Colorado:  Veterans to Farmers

150 S. Marion Pkwy Denver CO, 80209 or

Buck Adams, Founder & Veteran

The mission of VTF is to provide American Veterans with pride, education and fulfillment through a permanent source of sustainable income, community and contribution: The family farm.  VTF has built strong community partnerships with organizations such as Denver Botanic Gardens and Dirtless Farms, owned by VTF graduate Even Premer. Through these relationships we ensure Veterans have the opportunity to learn to utilize various innovative agricultural methods such as controlled environmental agriculture and small scale vegetable production. We feel that through veteran training we can ensure a path to a secure economic future, and path that also leads to a sustainable approach to food production. ~Turning Protectors Into Providers~


Connecticut:  Work Vessels for Vets


145 Pearl St., Noank, CT 06340

John Niekresh (founder, CEO), Ted Knapp (President)

WVFV assists veterans returning to the United States as they begin their civilian careers or continue their educational pursuits by donating to them the necessary start-up tools (laptops, vehicles, machinery, tools, and commercial vessels to name a few). The organization was started in 2008 with the donation of a commercial fishing boat to a returning veteran and to date has helped over 500 veterans in their transitions.  In the case of Adam Burke, WVFW bought the farmland and leases it back to Adam.


Florida:  The Veterans Farm


Several farm locations, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Adam Burke (US Army), Founder
Michele Burke, Coordinator of Programs & Services

Our mission is to help veterans reintegrate back into society and start their careers in Agro-business through our new innovative  Beginning Veteran Farmer/Rancher fellowship program. While working together in a relaxed, open environment veterans will work as a team to develop solutions that will enable them to overcome physical and mental barriers.. Through our fellowship, educational scholarships, intensive case management and training workshops veterans will learn the skills and gain the education they need to start their own local farms.


Hawaii:   Ho’ola Farms & Veteran Ser                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Hilo, HI

John & Emily Emmons, veteran and founder

Ho’ola means “warrior’s retreat or respite.”  Ho’ola Veteran Services connects veterans with agricultural training, equine therapy and alternative healing modalities. Born out of John’s personal experience with PTSD, TBI, the Emmons had a dream to own a retreat where families like theirs could come to garden, cook, participate in outdoor adventures, connect with the power of the earth and strengthen family bonds. Then the community of the Big Island stepped up to help, with a variety of farms offering land and training


Iowa:  Women, Food and Agriculture Network


Chelsey Teachout

WFAN is a community of women involved in sustainable agriculture. WFAN created the the Iowa Female Farmer Veteran Network project to serve Iowa women veterans interested in farming careers. In 2014 they will build a network of aspiring and beginning women farmer veterans and service providers, hold two career development workshops, and match women veterans with women farmer mentors. Women are the fastest growing demographic of both beginning farmers and military veterans. Many women from both urban and rural backgrounds are interested in farming. Iowa is home to 17,835 women vets. The rate of unemployment for women vets is higher than that of men.


Kentucky: Growing Warriors

Mike Lewis, Veteran Outreach Coordinator

The Growing Warriors Project is a program to train, assist and equip veteran families with the skills, tools, and supplies needed to grow high quality naturally grown produce for their families, their communities and their country. This is an opportunity for veterans to serve their communities in a new roll – as true nation builders – literally from the ground up – family by family and region by region.  The GWP is a partnership that includes veterans, civilians and organization who work together as a driving force to help develop a local reliable food system.


Michigan:  Anyone Can Farm (email form on the site)

Mark Baker, Farm Owner

Learn to grow food wherever you live, taught by Air Force veteran Mark Baker and his family, on 80 acres in Michigan. Continuing in the spring of 2013, courses on the complete guide to Pastured Poultry, Pastured Pork, Bio Char & Rocket Stoves 101, Introduction to Permaculture & Soils, Grass Feed Beef (Rotational Grazing), and Growing Vegetables will be held here at the Farm.The courses will be multiple day courses and you will lodge in the Anyone Can Farm Bunk House, Camp in the Camp Ground or stay at a local hotel.


Michigan:  Reining Liberty Ranch

1919 Iroquois, Traverse City, MI

Sharon Markham, Ranch Owner

Reining Liberty Ranch’s mission is to promote the physical, relational and emotional health of primarily Veterans and their families through the use of equine, agricultural, and educational services as well as community outreach efforts.

Nebraska:   Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots                                          


Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture                                                                                    

Garrett Dwyer, Veteran Coordinator

This program assists military personnel and their families to become farmers, ranchers and business entrepreneurs, working with many governmental agencies to help with funding and program assistance. They offer both the 100-acre Farm Advantage program and the 100 Beef Cow Advantage Program, matching up beginning farmers and ranchers with existing mentors. Working with the USDA Farm Service Agency and organizations, they have developed a program to assist with business plans to address 30-year property transfers, as one generation hands the land over to the next.


New Mexico: Desert Forge Foundation                                                                


P.O. Box 5156, Albuquerque, NM 87185

Victor Versace, Veteran & Founder

Training & employment program in controlled environment agriculture (hydroponic greenhouse food production) for returning combat veterans, as part of Phase 1. Veteran-run, commercial hydroponic greenhouses throughout the Albuquerque area. Phase 2 will continue with the training and employment of veterans with the creation of a large urban hydroponic farm and multi-use campus in downtown Albuquerque, including café, separate kitchen, creative spaces, and market, collocated on farm. On-site training & classes provided by veteran farmers on topics such as urban farming, hydroponics, etc. Development of certification program through Santa Fe Community College. Renewable energy as key source of energy.


New Mexico:   Veteran Farmer Project

505-217-2027 or 877-775-2667

La Montanita Co-Op: 901 Menual Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87107

Robin Seydel, Community Development Coordinator

The VFP program is designed to (1) Get veterans involved in agriculture as a livelihood, (2) give veterans an introduction to basic farming and ranching skills, and (3) provide healing opportunities for veterans.  They raise food and sell it at the farmers market. Trainings include Whole Farm Business Planning, Record Keeping, Financial Planning, effective On-Farm Decision Making and Enterprise Analysis. They work with the local V.A. and offer a VA Recreation Therapy van to trainings.  Animal husbandry is a new venture, working in collaboration with Holistic Management International (see blog post).


New York:  Heroic Foods


28 Fish & Game Rd., Hudson, NY 12534

Leora Barrish, Founder

Heroic Food prepares and trains military veterans for careers in sustainable farming, agricultural trades and food entrepreneurship. Veteran trainees will gain hands-on experience through apprenticeships with local mentor farmers, craftspeople & food entrepreneurs. Heroic Food offers a tuition-free, one-to-two year training program with housing. The program emphasizes sustainability, community, conservation & regeneration.


Ohio:  Dandelion Lane Farm


40949 State Route 558, Leetonia, OH 44431

Lee & Dawn Lichtenwalner, veteran-founder

Veteran-operated 11-acre farm of produce and poultry (chickens, ducks, and turkeys). They are developing the Boots & Roots Veteran Farm to offer a 6-month certificate program working with a local college, three months of business planning/marketing and academic and three months of field training.  Collaborating with local landowners, graduates may have land access opportunities.


Pennsylvania: Organic Farming Certificate Program

Delaware Valley University (DelVal)


Emily Boell:

A one-year program for a 36-credit certificate program, classroom subjects in organic farming and hand-ons experience at the Rodale Farm during the summer. DelVal is a Yellow Ribbon School. Vets who are eligible for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill will have up to 100% of their tuition paid, in addition to funds for housing and bills. The curriculum includes business development skills and career placement assistance.


Pennsylvania:  Troops to Tractors


Westmoreland Conservation District, Greensburg, PA

We are starting a new program to connect Veterans who want to farm with successful farm mentors, with the intention of helping facilitate paid apprenticeships, internships, or custom programs of a similar nature. Veterans may be eligible for GI Bill or VA support for these. Westmoreland County is home to well over a thousand farms—beef, dairy, horse, crops, and niche markets such as apiaries (honeybees), wineries, and specialty flowers, for instance. Agriculture has traditionally been the biggest economic driver in our County. Our rolling hills, parks and forests, and proximity to Pittsburgh makes this an attractive place to live and work.


Washington:   Growing Veterans

6458 Martin Place, Lynden, WA 98264

Chris Brown, Founder

Growing Veterans combines veteran reintegration with sustainable agriculture. Their mission is to empower veterans to grow food, communities, and each other. They give purpose to transitioning and multigenerational veterans through farm-to-market programs, peer-support, and community engagement. The long term goals of GV are to prevent veteran suicide and strengthen the sustainable agriculture movement. The food Growing Veterans and their volunteers grow is sold at Farmer’s Markets at VA Hospitals in the Puget Sound region of WA State, allowing them to feed other vets and care providers organic, healthy food. Several of their veteran peer-supporters have taken ASIST suicide intervention training to make them more equipped to help veterans in turmoil. They are cultivating healthy food, healthy people, and healthy communities.


West Virginia:  Veterans & Warriors to Agriculture                                                                                                             


James McCormick, Veteran & Director

WV Warriors & Veterans to Agriculture Project mobilizes and empowers military members, veterans, and their families to provide locally grown food for themselves and to develop agriculture related business within West Virginia.

Raising Cane Farms, Mr. McCormick’s personal farm in rural West Virginia grows and harvest Bamboo for food, timber and crafts. This disabled veteran’s family-run business will employ and help returning combat-wounded veterans by offering jobs and a place to work and relax with a team of other veterans, adjusting to a new plase in life after the war.


Wisconsin:   Peacefully Organic Produce & CSA                                                            

5101 County Hwy. M, Westport, WI 53597
Steve Acheson, Veteran & Founder                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
Peacefully Organic Produce and CSA (POPs CSA) is Wisconsin’s first veteran-owned, veteran-managed, and veteran-led community supported agriculture (CSA) farm. POPs CSA is committed to providing an environment for veterans of all eras to come together and learn about organic agriculture while attempting to assimilate back into the general population after returning from military service. Through a number of partnerships with local schools, technical colleges, and community-based organizations, veterans working at POPs CSA have access to several workshops, training seminars, and conferences while simultaneously gaining real, tangible on-farm experience. It is the goal of POPs CSA to encourage every veteran to branch out and eventually establish their own organic agriculture business.