Ever since we started stocking our online shelves, making healthy food accessible to everyone has been a priority. That’s why through Thrive Gives, every paid membership provides a free membership to someone in need—specifically teachers, low-income families, students, and veterans.
We realize the sacrifices and unique set of challenges military families face, which is why during the month of April, we’re partnering with Rodale Institute’s Veteran Farmer Training Program. The Institute was founded in 1947 and conducts independent research on topics like compost, soil health, livestock management, wastewater treatment, climate change, and soil fertility. It also helps honorably discharged veterans transition to civilian life and build careers in organic agriculture by offering this flexible, two- to four-month program. It’s a paid, hands-on experience to learn the ropes on the grounds of the Institute’s 333-acre farm in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.
The program is shepherded by Lyndsey Antanitis, a farmer, healthcare professional, and veteran (she served as a cardiopulmonary laboratory technician with the rank of Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force for five years). “We put veterans out in the field working side by side with our experts. They learn a variety of things, like how to transplant vegetables, how to rotationally graze chickens, how to take care of hogs, and how to maintain orchards,” Antanitis shares.
Since 2016, 20 veterans have completed the training program and gone on to formal apprenticeships and placements on existing farms. Some have even received financial support to set up small, low-risk, incubator farms to launch their own agriculture businesses.
When you donate at checkout, 100% of the proceeds will go towards the Veteran Farmer Training Program. Watch the video to learn more!