You are here: Home News Military Veterans: The Next Generation of Organic Farmers

Military Veterans: The Next Generation of Organic Farmers

Compost tea (a mixture of recycled organic matter soaked in water), hydroponic living basil, and organic certification are terms that, at first glance, may not have much of a connection to military veterans. Colin Archipley, a decorated Marine sergeant, and his wife Karen however saw the combination as a win-win when they founded the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training (VSAT) program outside San Diego, California.

From blogs.usda.gov:

Compost tea (a mixture of recycled organic matter soaked in water), hydroponic living basil, and organic certification are terms that, at first glance, may not have much of a connection to military veterans. Colin Archipley, a decorated Marine sergeant, and his wife Karen however saw the combination as a win-win when they founded the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training (VSAT) program outside San Diego, California.

Many veterans who have served our country have challenges transitioning to civilian life and struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and high unemployment rates.  After three tours in Iraq, Colin found his solace working on the Archipley’s newly-purchased, neglected avocado farm, which sat on 3 acres outside of Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base.

When the Archipleys received their first water bill, they determined their farm needed to be more sustainable. They decided to move to a water-efficient hydroponic system (roots placed in nutrient-rich water instead of soil) that reduces water use by up to 90%. They received a loan from the USDA Farm Service Administration to build a larger greenhouse, tripling their production.

They also were certified organic by California-based CCOF Certification Services (accredited and overseen by the USDA National Organic Program, part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service) and used their hydroponic system to grow organic basil, tomatoes, and variety of greens and other herbs. Produce is delivered as living plants (with roots still attached) to local farmers markets and stores, which saves water and retains freshness.

Read the full story...

powered by Plone | site by Groundwire Consulting and served with clean energy