For as long as the United States has existed, it has always been known as the land of the free and the home of the brave, a county that gives every living person equal opportunities, despite age, race, religion, color, and orientation. For many people, that statement proves true every single day, no matter what their trials and tribulations may be. As a matter of fact, the United States has more first generation, self-made millionaires than any other country in the world. Summarized, we have more millionaires that came from nothing. True, most of them come from the entertainment industry, but that is besides the point.
Still, the United States is far from the perfect paradise our positive affirmations make it to be. Two of our country’s problems, which are rarely discussed, are the treatment of veterans and our own hunger crisis. Just in 2014 alone, almost 50,000 veterans were homeless, while 17.5 million households were food insecure.
Thankfully, there are many organizations, such as charities and churches, willing to help these two suffering groups, most of which are non-profit. One such organization, Heroic Food, found a way to help both of them by giving military veterans a new order: become farmers and grow sustainable, organic food.
Known officially as the Heroic Food Project (HFP), the organization prepares and trains military veterans for careers in sustainable farming, agriculture trades, and food entrepreneurship. This is truly an opportunity for veterans because men and women returning from military service can suffer unemployment, especially those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Ergo, Heroic Food Project makes their environment as veteran-friendly as possible as they train for their new endeavors.
Another positive on training veterans in agriculture and farming is it might negate the decreasing number of organic farms nationwide. Over the years, more and more “mom and pop” farms are being replaced by huge, conventional farm industries, which often grow crops that are genetically-modified. There is a huge demand for organic food in the country today and we need more suppliers.
On a personal standpoint, Heroic Food founder Leora Barish believes veterans are great for farms and farming. She recently opened up, detailing why they are such valued workers in such a field to Inhabitat.
“To be a good farmer, you have to be really good at a lot of things. What [people] don’t realize is that veterans are great for farms and farming and for our food supply because they have a work ethic like nobody’s business and they have the endurance and they have the mission drive and grit and everything else that are required to start a farm.”
Apparently, venturing into the farming and agriculture industry is similar to taking on a mission, something veterans miss when they retire from the military. As a result, they use their organization and discipline to get the mission done.
Presently, Heroic Food is in the process of raising funds to initiate the second stage of their master plan. With the assistance of Ennead Lab and RAFT Landscape Architecture, Heroic Food will transform the old farm they own at the moment into a full-functioning complex. It will have eight supportive housing units which will be built to passive housing standards, community facility, and greenhouse.
Since Heroic Food is a non-profit, any income they do make with their organic food is used to improve their mission. However, those who want to help can do so through financial donations in which those who donate can specifically choose who or what they want to support through their “giving menu.” Also, people can simply donate their time by volunteering.
[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]