A story about the Armed to Urban Farm program’s recent training has been featured on more than 40 television news stations around the country. The free training included two virtual sessions and three days of in-person sessions in Memphis, TN.
Armed to Urban Farm, presented in partnership with the U.S. Botanic Garden, is an outgrowth of NCAT’s Armed to Farm program. Since 2013, more than 900 farmer veterans have received sustainable agriculture training through Armed to Farm.
Armed to Urban Farm is unique in its focus on operating a farming business in the city. Attendees at the Memphis training learned about business planning, marketing, land access, and legal issues farmers can face. In addition, they spent time on urban farms in Memphis, learning from experienced urban farmers and building relationships with fellow farmer veterans.
“They’re here to learn and connect with each other and see what they might be able to take back to their own operations,” said U.S. Botanic Garden education specialist Emily Hestness.
Veterans who attend Armed to Urban Farm come to learn about vegetable, fruit, and flower production, with goals of feeding their families and communities. Many, such as Army veteran Charley Jordan, also have discovered therapeutic benefits from engaging in agriculture.
“It was helpful for me and I figured this must be helpful for other veterans…So, I’m slowly moving on to working more with veterans and mental health and using plants as healing.”
Whatever the farmer veterans’ goals may be, Armed to Urban Farm offers support and educational resources even after the training event ends. Farming is a challenging profession, as NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Mike Lewis points out, but farmer veterans are used to challenges from their time in military service.
“and we think that if you’ve already started the hardest job in the world, why can’t we transition you into the second?”
NCAT and the U.S. Botanic Garden have hosted Armed to Urban Farm training events in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, OH, and Baltimore, MD. For more information, visit ARMEDTOFARM.ORG.
Watch the full piece, here.