Growing Veterans – From Battlefields to Organic Farm Fields


Farm manager Chris Wolf in the greenhouse with harvested squash and plant starts

I’ve wanted to do a show with veterans-turned-farmers ever since I read Trading their Swords for Plows in the New York Times two years ago. I got my chance in the innovative community near Bellingham, Washington.

While we were videoing at the Whatcom SkillShare Faire, a fair-haired man tapped me on the shoulder, asked if I was Janaia from Peak Moment, and introduced himself. Jacob Oostra handed me a handbill about an upcoming showing of the documentary Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields.

We went. This inspiring film follows several combat veterans getting into organic, sustainable agriculture. The discipline and skills gained in the military—sometimes used for destruction—are being redirected to create healthy new lives for themselves and life-sustaining food for their communities.

The local organization is Growing Veterans. We came out to their small farm in Lynden on a foggy CSA harvest morning. We conversed with founder Chris Brown, a couple of staff members, and farm manager Chris Wolf (the only female and non-veteran).

The guys talked about supporting other vets, just being there for one another. Weekly potlucks for their families. Ways for veterans to meet and mix with their community. Some are even finding jobs through Growing Veterans.

Not only was this a really inspiring situation, but the carrots were delicious, too. I hope more vets-to-farmer operations spring up everywhere. Turn those swords into plowshares!


Left to right: Glenn Clark, Chris Wolf, Justin Power (JP), Chris Brown, Janaia



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