For some veterans, farming provides an opportunity to work outside, be their own boss, and heal while making a connection with the land. In the latest episode of SARE’s Our Farms, Our Future podcast, veteran David Paulk shares some of the uncertainties and lack of resources he faced when starting Sassafrass Creek Farm in Leonardtown, Md. Paulk speaks with Margo Hale of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) Armed to Farm program about sustainable agriculture opportunities available to military veterans.
Veterans are “unique and they know how to get stuff done,” says Paulk, whose 80-acre farm contributes to a local farmers’ market that he has helped transform by diversifying his production and by encouraging his community to do the same. Like many new farm owners, Paulk has worked hard to overcome the challenges of lacking an agricultural background. Paulk and Hale agree that networking with the agricultural community to find resources is essential to success. NCAT’s Armed to Farm program provides tools that help veterans start farm enterprises such as business planning advice, access to USDA resources and more.
The Our Farms, Our Future podcast was created to bring people together for important conversations about our food system, and to share the knowledge of agricultural professionals with a wider audience. Each episode features two members of the sustainable agriculture community in conversations about their successes, challenges, fears, hopes, lessons learned and projects to come.