During the month of April we’re teaming up with Rodale Institute to support its Veteran Farmer Training Program which helps honorably discharged veterans transition to civilian life and build careers in organic agriculture. Veterans receive hands-on training in a range of disciplines like livestock management, soil health, composting, and wastewater treatment on Rodale Institute’s 333-acre farm in Pennsylvania. Today we’re sharing the stories of two program alumni, Ariel and Billy, who are using their knowledge to make a difference in their communities
Ariel Jennings has been serving in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard for 10 years, and has spent the past five months training on Rodale Institute’s farm. “It’s given me a sense of peace and helped me deal with my anxiety,” she says. Jennings has found the experience gratifying and looks forward to using her skills to continue to serve. “Not only are you gaining knowledge, but you’re also working and sweating and doing something productive that you can see at the end of the day.”
Billy Vaughn is a retired Marine Captain who served in the military for 21 years. After training with Rodale Institute, he’s embracing a new career path in organic farming. He and his wife recently purchased 66 acres of land in Arkansas and have created a nonprofit to help provide a safe space to heal for those recovering from PTSD and addiction. The organization will serve a nearby women’s maximum security prison. “The farm will provide work and therapy, and teach them skills to help them become self-sustaining,” Vaughn shares.
If you’re a military veteran interested in building a career in organic agriculture, you can apply for the program through Rodale Institute’s website. In addition to the application, you’ll also need to submit a copy of your discharge status and a resume.
Veterans, low-income families, students, and teachers are eligible to apply for Thrive Gives through our website. In addition to a free Thrive Market membership, you’ll also receive educational content and be eligible for additional discounts on healthy groceries.
When you donate at checkout during April 2019, 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward the Veteran Farmer Training Program.
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