From Battlefields to Farmfields

Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan face a difficult transition to civilian life. They need a place to de-escalate from the impact of combat. They’re service-driven people who need a new mission.

At the same time, half of American farmers have reached retirement age, and the USDA is calling for one million new farmers and ranchers in the next 10 years to fill the gap.

Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields is a documentary film and social action campaign that champions the growing network of combat veterans who are transitioning into careers as sustainable farmers, ranchers, and artisan food producers. The film follows an ensemble of young men and women who tell us why they joined the military; how the war changed them; how they’ve struggled to return home; and ultimately, how they found organic farming and ranching to be the answer to a dream. In a world full of problems, Ground Operations is a story about solutions.

“Teach these guys how to farm, and they can have sustainable lives with sustainable agriculture,” says Adam Burke, who started the Veterans Farm in Jacksonville, Florida, growing organic blueberries.

You can support Ground Operations by sharing the 2-minute video below or by buying the 40-minute film on DVD for $20. You’ll be rooting for returning veterans all the way to your local farmers’ market.

… And find out how we’re doing our part to support returning veterans in my post that’s coming up on Saturday.

Testimonial: “Awesome video! As the wife of a 3rd generation farmer, I applaud veterans’ choices to enter into farming. The USA needs farmers!!!” – Gina



Leave a comment 3 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This is just awesome! And I am so proud that Florida has been able to lead the way. We are currently watching the PBS Special on The Roosevelts and part of what Franklin did in the 1930s was to start the Civilian Conservation Corps to put unemployed men to work. They were responsible for many important projects like clearing and working in places like out national parks to make them more accessible for people to visit and enjoy the spaces. Just like the huge unemployment of the 1929 crash and returning veterans from WWI, using the skills that people had from the war could be harnessed into important work for our nation. Clearly, we have veterans who are finding themselves in the same predicament. What could be more important than securing our national food production in new and sustainable practices?

    I also read in one of my bee books for the badge that they are teaching bee keeping to prisoners who are in transition to release so that they can have the skills needed to work for themselves and earn a living for their futures. With many convicts carrying the burden of a labeled felon, employment is almost impossible on the outside. Self employment like bee keeping, however, offers a pathway to a sustainable further and prevent recidivism.

    I love how this new agriculture training program and Bee Keeping programs are gaining traction and offering young people a bright and honorable future where the gentle bees and the good earth heal the wounds of violence and abuse.

  2. Been reading alot about this movement and it’s such a brilliant idea. Those major skills are so wasted when the troops come home , especially if they suffer from PSTS. The peacefulness of farming plus the many ways that those military skills are needed ( farm equipment needing to be repaired, running huge complicated machinery like combines, milking equipment, etc ) makes for a potent combination. Like the ex soldier in the preview says , finding that sense of peace and not destruction – A rebuilding not a tearing down.
    If the placid face of a milk cow doesn’t calm someone down, what will? This is such a win-win idea.

  3. Karlyne says:

    About the time that I start wondering if this insane world will last out the year, along comes an actual plan for making people’s lives not only better but good. Kisses and hugs and sprinkles of fairy dust to the people who start these kinds of programs!

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