Veterans to Farmers blossoming partnerships in Denver

A partnership that offers veterans agriculture-based certificate programs, designed to help them assimilate effectively while exploring urban farming, has developed in Denver. Veterans to Farmers (VTF) recently announced its expanded partnership with Colorado State University Extension and Denver Botanic Gardens-Chatfield Farms.

veterans-working-at-the-denver-botanic-gardens-chatfield-farm-location“The graduates from the farming program can make a significant impact either growing food for their family or their communities,” says Rusty Collins, director of the CSU Extension office in Denver. “This helps create a more locally sustained food environment.”

Encouraging urban farming and local food production will help Denver as it strives to reach aggressive food goals for the Denver 2030 Food Vision. The collaboration between CSU Extension and VTF has built a strong partnership. The groups are looking forward to the graduation ceremony for the class participants.

Graduation and Harvest Moon Barn Party

A graduation ceremony for veterans who will have just recently completed the course will be held in conjunction with VTF’s second annual Harvest Moon Barn Party. This fundraising event will be held at Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms, on Oct. 22, 5-9 p.m.  There will be a silent auction, local hand-crafted hors d’oeuvres and beer. Tickets  are $10 for veterans, $15 for singles, and $25 for couples. Find more information and purchase tickets here.

Three certificate programs

The Veterans to Farmers organization is a national leader in the way they work with veterans and the opportunities that are provided for agriculture and small-scale farming. This expanded partnership includes three agriculture-based certificate programs: CSU’s Colorado Building Farmers Program, Denver Botanic Garden’s Community Serving Agriculture (CSA) Program, and the Veterans to Farmers Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Program. Through these partnerships, veterans who finish the 10-week VTF training programs will now receive certificates stamped with CSU Extension’s seal of approval.

“These certificates greatly validate our work and dedication to making sure that the veterans going through our courses are receiving an education in farming skills,” says Buck Adams, founder of VTF.

The program helps veterans assimilate effectively, productively and permanently into private life by training them in agriculture that leads to urban farming and/or business ownership. CSU Extension’s program is both an online and hands-on course that teaches veterans about CEA and small-scale vegetable production. The Denver Botanic Gardens also provides VTF with a six-acre site at its Chatfield Farms location for outdoor gardening training.

Denver Botanic Gardens CEO Brian Vogt echoed Collins’ enthusiasm about the three-way partnership. “The Gardens is proud to add another component to a decades-long collaboration with CSU,” he says. “Our work with VTF is an important link between the veteran community and the food deserts the Gardens serves throughout the Denver area.”

Began at CSU

“Our partnership began when CSU first offered the CEA class, which was made possible through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program,” added Adams. “It has now expanded into three classes and has welcomed DBG into the partnership. We are the only veterans’ program that has three certified state university programs in the nation.”

The competitive grant program requires a partnership between a public and private entity and funds education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives directed at helping beginning farmers and ranchers of all types.

Veteran to Farmers’ mission is to provide American veterans with pride, education and fulfillment through a permanent source of sustainable income, community, and contribution.

More information on Veterans to Farmers.

More information on CSU’s curriculum.

More information on Denver Botanic Gardens veterans program.

Veterans Symposium

vetsymp-source150Join Colorado State University for our biennial Veterans Symposium, focusing on the transition from higher education to the workforce, Oct. 24-25, 2016.  The keynote speaker will be Teresa W. Gerton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, U.S. Department of Labor. The symposium will feature critical information and discussion opportunities for student-veterans and employers, as well as keynote speakers, breakout sessions, panel discussions, and a student-veteran and employer networking session.

More information and to register.