The Farmer-Veteran Coalition. A Modern Swords to Ploughshares

Writing for TreeHugger is such a brilliant job. We get to seek out all the positive news stories. To shine a little light on solutions, instead of only focussing on dark problems. It's food for the soul.

Just like this heartwarming story -- about the Farmer-Veteran Coalition -- found on the WorldWatch blog, The coalition wants to match hard working farmers with returning Iraq and Afghanistan military veterans, so that they might help each other heal both the wounds of the US food system, and of those of the battle weary warrior.

The Farmer-Veteran Coalition believe that "our family farms, the sustainable farming movement and growing support for local and regional agriculture could all be well served by people already accustomed to hard work, discipline and dedication. If given the opportunity, our returning veterans can benefit from and help to stimulate the growing green economy, even in these hard times."

The WorldWatch piece highlights one such veteran, Matthew McCue, (pictured right) who has even set up his own Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, the Shooting Star. As Matthew sees it: "To go from knocking down peoples' doors and arresting them as a soldier to growing food and helping feed communities was a powerful experience for me. It can be hard to function as a veteran after existing in the context of a war, and learning farming skills can be a good way for soldiers to learn a new kind of job."

Showing considerable wisdom, Matthew observes, "Overcoming the experience of wartime takes a lifetime. Working on a farm or receiving training for new skills helps ease that transition by allowing them to participate in the more pure, almost righteous, activity of farming."

He not alone in his thinking. The much revered Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, is quoted by the Patrick McCaffrey Foundation, who share board members with the Farmer-Veteran Coalition. "Veterans are the light at the tip of the candle, illuminating the way for the whole nation. If veterans can achieve awareness, transformation, understanding, and peace, they can share with the rest of society the realities of war. And they can teach us how to make peace with ourselves and each other, so we never have to use violence to resolve conflicts again"

Then there's that classic Bible passage, Isaiah 2:4, "They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."

We can only hope that thousands of years on from that last sentiment we slow-learning humans can finally get that concept through our thick skulls. Big kudos to the Farmer-Veteran Coalition, the Patrick McCaffrey Foundation, and all the vets and farmers like Matthew McCue, who believe their efforts will indeed bear fruit. And vegetables. And succor.

::Farmer-Veteran Coalition, via WorldWatch
Photos: Shooting Star CSA
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Tags: Agriculture | Community Supported Agriculture | Farmers Markets | Farming | United States

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