Here’s an excerpt of a letter from the Friends of the Farm Campaign about a terrific program training veterans in organic farming.
Please take a look at Archi’s Acres Veterans Sustainable Agricultural Training (VSAT), an innovative program helping veterans in transition right now – in very concrete ways. This progressive small scale organic farm training program was started by Sergeant Colin Archipley, a former Marine who served three tours of duty in Iraq, and his wife Karen. Sergeant Archipley’s infantry position gave him the teaching experience and tools necessary to instill confidence working side-by-side with fellow veterans, giving men and women the opportunity to get a fresh start through this structured program geared to support the unique challenges faced by veterans . To hear a Fox News 5 interview with Sergeant Archipley and one of the veterans served by VSAT go here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il8X6a1V9GY.
Archi’s Acres VSAT is the first organic farm-training program started by a veteran to serve veterans, and the Archipleys took the initiative to start this truly remarkable program at their own cost. Their hard work and perseverance got this program up and running in less than a year . San Diego VA Healthcare Systems’ Compensated Work Therapy refers, screens, and compensates the veterans attending the program. Anyone in farming will tell you that this is a remarkable achievement! Folks from around the world who are interested in starting similar programs are already consulting with the Archipleys to learn from their success and sources of support include: the VA’s Compensated Work Therapy/Veterans Industries (VI/CWT) program; the Farmer-Veterans Coalition, sponsored by Farms Not Arms; and . . . Growing Solutions.
Urgent challenges face Archi’s Acres . While the goal of Archi’s Acres farm training program is to become self-sustaining by the end of 2009, this Friends of the Farm campaign intends to raise $20,000 so that Archi’s Acres can during the next 12 months recover roughly $3,500 paid by the Archipleys after VA program funds were depleted; roughly $5,500 for property taxes and utilities; $10,000 for a down-payment on a windmill to sizably reduce utility bills. Donations received in excess of these needs will enable Archi’s Acres to cover annual farming costs, farm infrastructure investments, and related veterans training program expenses.
For more information, or to donate, check out http://archisacres.com/index.html