Access to start-up capital is a big challenge for farmers.
A small grant program through the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) is helping.
More than 100 farmer veterans received word Friday that they are being awarded equipment thanks to the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund. The grant supports veterans in their early years of farming and ranching.
“We directly purchase a piece of equipment the farmer has identified as being critical,” explains Jeanette Lombardo, FVC Executive Director. “Our veterans put their lives on the line to protect us. It’s an honor to help them grow their operations so they can continue to feed their communities.”
Farmer Veteran Coalition announces its 2021 grant application is open through February 14th
One piece of equipment changed it all.
Ben Martin of Forest Grove, Oregon, served in the Marine Corps. After returning home from war, he pursued a career in winemaking.
Ben credits a grant from Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) for making the difference in his budding wine business early on. Back in 2015, FVC awarded Ben the supplies needed to bottle his first vintage of wine.
“We were just starting out making wine in the back of a horse barn,” acknowledged Ben. “We had no sales, no exposure. And we needed to bottle the vintage of wine. But we had no bottles, corks, or labels. FVC stepped in and gave us a grant for the supplies.
If it weren’t for FVC we wouldn’t have…well actually, I don’t know what we would have done, honestly.”
Wounded Warrior Project Expands Support for Wounded Veterans
and their Families with New Funding for Farmers in 2021
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) expanded partnerships to include 12 new and existing veteran and military service organizations to help meet the needs of our nation’s wounded, ill, and injured veterans and their families.
Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) was one of the dozen organizations awarded. Read the Details.
Some people dream of being on the cover of Rolling Stone. We were elated to be the cover story of Progressive Farmer, the nation’s leading farm magazine, earlier this year!
Longtime FVC member Aaron White – of White Stock & Produce in Iowa – adorned the cover page. The interior article also highlighted member Bryan Cleveland in Kansas along with a few feature words from our Founder, Michael O’Gorman.
Thank you Progressive Farmer for the superb feature. We work with some of the coolest men and women.
After 33 years of service, Lieutenant Colonel and Homegrown By Heroes FVC member Tim Doherty has shifted his focus to agriculture and its therapeutic benefits for veteran rehabilitation.
“It’s like getting send home unexpectedly from a job that you love and having to leave your brothers and sisters in arms behind as well as the mission you love. You have a huge void and have difficulty relating with others and difficulty finding a purpose.
You train for your deployment, on deployment, you’ve got that purpose and you’re operating at the highest level you’re trained for.
Then you come home, go back to your civilian job and you’re not involved in that duty and you’re not around the people you’d spent every day with, 24/7.
You get addicted to the adrenaline. You don’t have that purpose when you come home and you don’t have that adrenaline rush. I’d found a new purpose, something to look forward to. Keeping bees.”
Doc’s Healing Hives is Tim’s non-profit. It provides opportunities to veterans, who struggle with physical and mental challenges associated with service and deployments, to heal their service wounds.
Fun fact: As the co-chair of the legislative committee for the Georgia Beekeepers Association, Tim helped develop the Georgia license plate to save the honey bee.
“The solution isn’t going to be to talk to someone who doesn’t understand what you’ve been through or found in a prescription. The solution is being purposeful and being around people that you can relate to. Beekeepers and vets have a ton in common. It’s a can-do [mindset] to take care of our bees as we take care of each other.”
Michael O’Gorman hands it over to newly appointed
Executive Director Jeanette Lombardo
It started as a vision in a strawberry field overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Three women who stood there alongside Michael O’Gorman had alllost their sons in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Fatalities were high in 2007, and the country was deeply divided. O’Gorman’s idea of starting a campaign to create viable careers and places to heal on our nation’s farms for men and women returning from war felt electric. “It felt positive, optimistic, and healing for all of us,” reflected the lifelong farmer.
In 2008, O’Gorman’s idea sprouted its first roots when he started Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) in the back of his pick-up truck.
After a decade of leading FVC, O’Gorman is handing over his pitchfork to newly appointed Executive Director Jeanette Lombardo.
We are exuberant that these 3 new chapters are now part of the FVC Family. We commend the leadership teams in each state who dedicated hours to their formation in collaboration with our Deputy Director Sarah Dachos.