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Veteran Farmer Program

THE CHALLENGE

The average American farmer is 58 – even older in Virginia – and is nearing retirement. The USDA estimates the nation needs 100,000 new farmers to replace them over the next decade.

Hundreds of thousands of American veterans, including those who volunteered for the military after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, are separating from the service every year and seeking meaningful careers in the civilian sector.
 

THE OPPORTUNITY

Americans are increasingly purchasing local and organic food – the market share grew more than 10 fold in the last decade, despite a major recession.

Veterans are 45 percent more likely to start their own businesses than other Americans. And they have the physical and mental toughness to forge successful careers in agriculture. Years of service have honed their ability to lead; to work independently or as part of a team; to plan, adapt, and overcome crises; and to accomplish whatever mission is before them.
 

THE SOLUTION

Pay veterans to learn how to farm. Help them find affordable land. Provide easy market access for the food they produce to satisfy the robust and growing public demand. And reinvigorate the farm sector with skilled new growers, eager to begin their next phase of life.

Arcadia’s Veteran Farmer Program is a multilayered, hands-on educational program that develops new farmers; capitalizes on the growing market in local, sustainably grown foods; and encourages entrepreneurship and job creation.

The Veteran Farmer Program has three components:

VETERAN FARMER RESERVE PROGRAM

VETERAN FARM FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

VETERAN FARMER LAND ACCESS
 

VETERAN FARMER RESERVE PROGRAM

The Veteran Farmer Reserve Program is for those interested in exploring agriculture without committing to a full-time training program. This 12-month program meets one weekend a month, with an additional service learning commitment of 40 hours of hands-on farm work at Arcadia during the training year. Reserve Farmers receive hands-on training at Arcadia’s farm in Alexandria, VA; visit working livestock, greenhouse, organic, and other farms on field trips; and receive classroom instruction on topics ranging from pest control to marketing and farm business planning. Reserve Farmers also complete independent reading, research, and writing assignments. Arcadia Farm Staff instruction is supplemented by professional farmers and extension agents and supported by staff with our project partners. 

The Veteran Farmer Reserve Program is a fee based program with needsbased scholarships offered to qualified veterans.

2020 Reserve Class: January 2020 to December 2020

Anticipated 2020 Reserve Program Training Dates (please be available for both days, every weekend): Jan. 25/26; Feb. 22/23; March 28/29; April 25/26; May 30/31; June 27/28; July 25/26; Aug 29/30; Sept 26/27; Oct 24/25; Nov 21/22; December 12/13

Tuition: $1,995 – fee includes breakfast and lunch during monthly training weekends.

Application: Application deadline is November 30 for Reserve Program. The application is online, and can be found HEREhttps://forms.gle/tXg4B5Q8xmxfP4167
Reliable transportation required.

 

VETERAN FARM FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

The Veteran Farm Fellowship Program is a nine month, intensive on-farm training program.. Veteran Farm Fellows study and work full time at Arcadia Farm. The Fellows participate in all aspects of Arcadia’s mission, including food access and distribution, sourcing, working with local chefs and retailers, and farm and nutrition education. Farm Fellows work 40-50 hour work weeks, and participate in the Farmer Reserve weekend training program.

Veteran Farm Fellows are mentored by professional farmers and produce a viable business plan for their own farms or agriculture businesses when they complete the program.

Reliable transportation required.

Pay: Full-time annual salary of $19,000 plus optional health benefits. Fellows may also qualify for additional On-the-Job training stipends through the VA and Department of Labor. We will help you with the application process for the additional stipend. 

The 2020 Farm Fellowship will begin in March 1, 2020 and run through December 2020. The Farm Fellow is expected to participate in the Reserve Program Training Weekends (dates listed above). 

Application: The Application deadline for the 2020 Fellowship is October 15, 2019. The application is online, and can be found HEREhttps://forms.gle/rYh4Zyr4fS3c1mAa8

Arcadia is an Equal Opportunity Employer that is committed to diversity in the workplace. People of color, LGBTQ and multilingual people are encouraged to apply.

 

VETERAN FARM LAND ACCESS

Arcadia is working with local landowners, nonprofit organizations, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to identify affordable land suitable for farming where Veteran Farm Fellows can begin their new careers. Arcadia will serve as an intermediary, helping the landowners and farmers work out favorable lease terms.

Arcadia also operates a Veteran Farm Incubator at Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria that is open to graduates of Arcadia's training programs, and other veterans on a case-by-case basis. Arcadia provides access to land, water for irrigation, shared equipment, and additional shared infrastructure to support the incubator farmers as they launch their new farm businesses.

Application: The Application deadline for the 2020 Incubator Farm Production season is January 5, 2020. The application is online, and can be found HEREhttps://forms.gle/sdUQdL7xFKhVRzmb9 

 

PROGRAM SUPPORT

Thanks to our generous sponsors who make the Veteran Farmer Program possible:
USDA
Boeing
Catoctin Creek Distilling
Grace Communications Foundation
Neighborhood Restaurant Group
Nestle
Northrop Grumman
Prince Charitable Trusts
Jen Walker Realty

Arcadia continues to raise funds from private donors, philanthropic organizations, corporate sponsorships, and governmental grants to finance the Veteran Farmer Program. For information about sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.arcadiafood.org/VFPSponsorshipOpportunities, or contact Pamela Hess, Executive Director, at Pam@Arcadiafood.org.

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