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Veteran Farmer Program

A multilayered, hands-on educational program that develops new farmers and encourages entrepreneurship and job creation.

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The Challenge

The average American farmer is 58 – even older in Virginia – and is nearing retirement. The USDA estimates the nation needs 700,000 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.

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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.

Program Staff


Pamela Hess

Executive Director


Matt Mulder

Director of Operations


Stephen Corrigan

Farmer Trainer


Sam Stern

Farm Manager

Program Support

Thanks to our generous sponsors who make the Veteran Farmer Program possible:
Grace Communications Foundation
Neighborhood Restaurant Group
Northrop Grumman
Northern Virginia Community Foundation
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 contact Pamela Hess, Executive Director, at

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