Newsletter – July 2015

Newsletter – July 2015


Aloha Spirit welcomes veteran family on Big Island

Ho’ola Farms: Growing Hawaii’s Heroes

Ray and I spent Independence Day with a young veteran family in Hilo.  I met Emily at the Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference in Iowa last year, we stayed in touch and my film story nose got twitchy.  I just had to go see what they were up to, inspiring the Hilo community to help them put together a farming/gardening program for other veteran families – a place to learn how to grow food together & get healthy.

They are just beginning their journey and we have the camera following.


Meet the Emmons: Emily, John, Vivian & Lydia. After blowing out his sinuses at the burn pits in Iraq, Army Intelligence Officer John had to find the cleanest air on the planet to live. Hence Hawaii. What looks like a whole, happy guy on the outside is a veneer for the crippling migraines & PTSD/TBI disabilities housed within.

Emily, like many caregiver wives, orchestrates the days around the needs of husband, kids and home. A Hawaii Fellow to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation,  Emily wants to help other families with similar challenges — while John is looking for a fresh-air lifestyle that is challenging yet flexible to meet the demands of his recovery process. Ho’ola Farms was born.

Here at Ground Ops Headquarters…

We’re busy doing research and writing the Ground Operations Field Manual. For all of you who’ve attended a film screening, you know that there are many questions afterward about how vets can get started farming – where can they get training, how to find land and financing  and where to link up with other farmer-veterans.  So we’re publishing a resource guide that will fit into the new eco-cover DVD packaging.  We’re gearing up for a huge push to veteran service centers and educational institutions, so that we can reach exponentially more people, quicker, than our national tour is able to do.  We need thousands upon thousands of vets to learn about these opportunities and get connected.

If you like what we do, please support us. This is a labor of love, but we still need to pay the bills to keep this campaign rolling out.

   Cultivating Connections 

Back by popular demand, the Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference is coming to Sacramento, November 17 – 19. 

Last year, we made history by bringing together leaders from government, education, agriculture, and the farmer veterans themselves to find solutions to serve U. S. military veterans as they establish their careers in American agriculture. 
The 2015 Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference promises to be everything from the 2014 conference and MORE – more sessions, more workshops, more people, more solutions!
     A Harvest of Festivals
    Sept & Oct are Farm Festivals Time in CA
(let us know what’s happening in your area!) Sept 4-5:  Soil Not Oil
New data out of Rodale, the UN and the Marin Carbon Project show that the soil can help reduce our CO2 load if it is supported by agro-ecological practices.  Beat back climate chaos!

Sept 8-10:  Nat’l Heirloom Seed Expo 
Hands down, everyone’s favorite – what county fairs use to be. Music, speakers, booths, heritage breed livestock, delicious food & lots of smiles.

Oct 3-4:  Hoes Down Harvest Festival 
Full Belly Farm’s 28th festival honors agricultural arts & sustainable rural living. Old time family farm fun, camping, wagon rides & a creek.

Oct 30-Nov 1:  Restoration Agriculture
Farm Scale Permaculture Workshop with Mark Shepard. “Resilience in times of flood or drought.” Held at Orella Ranch, coastal Santa Barbara with camping and food included.

Nov 17-19:  Farmer Veterans (above)


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