Newsletter – February 2015

Newsletter – February 2015


Eco-Farm: Coming Full Circle to Where it All Began

Michael O’Gorman, founder of Farmer Veteran Coalition is honored with the “Justie” Social Justice Award at Eco-Farm. Original cast from Ground Operations (above), shares in the celebration.  Ground Operations plays to a standing-room-only crowd.

This is where it all began, in 2009 when I attended my first Eco-Farm Conference and met Michael, who was just starting up the Farmer-Veteran Coalition. His vision became my calling, for a film and for a social movement to support veterans transitioning into farming.

What began as a dozen veterans has blossomed into about 3,500 vets registered with FVC, numerous veteran-run training farms nationwide, historic legislation included veterans in the Farm Bill, and the number of farmers is going up for the first time in decades.

Let’s keep up the good work in 2015!

It’s the Soil, Silly!


Been hearing a lot about microbes lately? Or the Soil Food Web? Seems that even though we’ve landed on the moon and created vast computer systems, we’re only now learning about the dirt beneath our feet. It’s called dirt when it’s stripped of all it’s nutrients and organic matter texture. It’s soil, when it’s rich in microbial life, roots, mineral rocks and humus. So rich in fact, that there are an estimated 300,000 different species of about 50 billion microbes in one teaspoon of soil. 
Staggering isn’t it?  

“Microbes” are apparently the new frontier in science. Once l got that it’s the microbial food chain within soil that creates all the nutrient density and health of the plants (and the animals like us who eat them) …. I understood why chemical-free, organic matter builds soil fertility, retains more water in droughts and resists pests. So you’ll understand why the United Nations has named 2015 International Year of Soils.

Let’s hear a military Hoo-Rah for our veterans, stewards of the soil, who are replenishing our topsoils, the true wealth of America, through sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices.

March 7th, 10am-1pm, Free

Learn about grants, scholarships, and funding available for new beginning veteran farmers and ranchers. Guest speakers from the USDA, FSA, Florida Organic Growers association, Farm Credit, Wealth Watchers, Rush University and the University of Florida and more will be providing information and resources available to you. Michael O’Gorman of the Farmer Veteran Coalition will share the Homegrown by Heroes label program. We are inviting local experienced farmers & ranchers interested in mentoring and training veterans at your farm.  Scholarships & fellowships available veterans & their family. 
Upcoming Events & Doings
Feb 28   Fresh Fest, Williamstown, MA
Mar 1-2  Cultivate, Greenville, SC
Mar 6-8  One Earth Film Fest, Chicago, IL
Mar 18   The Vortex, Los Angeles, CA
Mar 19   Gold Star Manor, Long Beach,CA
NEWS:  Send us news and happenings that we can include in our next newsletter.
RESOURCES: Especially let us know of any veteran farms that are offering training in farming and ranching, or other resources we can add to our website and upcoming DVD Resource Guide for Farmer-Veterans!!  

Hydroponic Indoor Farm Launched
122 Center St. #2 Grayslake, IL.
Veteran-led Growing Healthy People opened their first hydroponic micro-greens & aquaponics (fish) farm, in Grayslake, IL (n/w of Chicago).  They offer a paid internship program for veterans and they work with the College of Lake County and the Liberty Prairie Foundation to offer a pathway into sustainable agriculture for veterans.
Rent the Film & Write a Review!

We just launched on Amazon Prime for instant video. If you liked the film, please tell your friends they can rent it.

AND … would you write a quick review for us?  We need at least 50 reviews this next week of February to get on their promotion radar (25 more to go!)

A great collaboration between a private landowner, a local gardening organization and Growing Veterans South Sound has resulted in a new half-acre community garden for a horticultural veteran sanctuary. GRuB (Garden-Raised Bounty program) has built more than 2,300 backyard & community gardens since 1993.  The half-acre is a gift from a military family that’s been farming locally for 60 years. The new farm manager, Rick Bernsten is an Army vet (2 tours, Iraq and Kosovo.) “There’s room for everybody out here!” Growing Veterans seeks to change the legacy of post-9/11 veterans by offering camaraderie & job training.
eVeteran/CheFarmer Raiford
Opens Restaurant
Brunswick, GA
Matthew Raiford, of Gilliard Farm (in Ground Operations) has partnered with his fiancé (and Master Preserver) Jovan Sage,  to open Farmer and the Larder in his home town in coastal Georgia. (Matthew was recently the Executive Chef at Little St. Simons Resort.)  Using fresh produce, pork and poultry from the farm, they will teach cooking classes, have taste testings & dining clubs, as well as kitchen retail items. The idea is to give both the home cook and the gourmet epicurean a place to celebrate food. This is a man who knows how to raise a hog and bring his guests to hog heaven. I had smoked pulled pork at his farm, oh my!

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