Mark Stewart, a Navy veteran and 2019 Armed to Farm alum, launched a micro-farm business last year on Whidbey Island, Washington. Now, Stewart and his wife Melissa are featured in the Whidbey News-Times.
They saw a need for local chicken on Whidbey Island and opened One Willow Farm last year. Now the busy couple sells eggs, chicken and turkeys. They give their birds nutritious, non-GMO feed without soy or corn.
They have a heritage breed of turkey called Bourbon Red and fast-growing Jumbo Cornish Cross meat chicken. There are several breeds of egg-laying chickens on the small farm. Melissa Stewart also has a few different types of chickens that she keeps as pets that lay eggs in all types of colors – including light green. – Whidbey News-Times
The Stewarts grew up on farms, and tell the Whidbey News-Times the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s Armed to Farm program gave them the tools and guidance needed to be confident in launching their own business.
“We always knew we wanted to get back to farming,” Mark Stewart said.
The couple entered the “Armed to Farm” program operated by the National Center for Appropriate Technology in 2019. The program gives interested veterans an overview of how to get started in agriculture and takes them on site visits to veteran-owned farms.
Melissa Stewart described it as a “one-week crash course in all you need to know about farming.”
She said it is a great resource for any veterans interested in pursuing an agricultural career. – Whidbey News-Times
Armed to Farm is a sustainable agriculture training program for military veterans. The National Center for Appropriate Technology, a national nonprofit organization based in Butte, Montana, developed Armed to Farm through a cooperative agreement with USDA-Rural Development.