Presentations & Panels


  Homegrown By Heroes

Knoxville & Tacoma
We welcome our community of farmer veterans and partner organizations. The excitement of bringing everyone together under one roof is unmatched. We'll launch our gathering with introductions, followed by a celebration that FVC now has full ownership of the Homegrown By Heroes Label! During this session you will learn the history of HBH, from its birth in Kentucky, to its partnership with FVC and growth around the country, to its new home. Leaders and staff will discuss what will come next for HBH, and we will hear from local HBH participants.


    USDA AgVets

The new Director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture discusses the agency’s many programs that benefit farmer veterans.  This inlcudes an announcement of this year's AgVets grantees.


  Introduction to FVC Career Pipeline and AgCareers Partnerships

Knoxville & Tacoma

The Career Pipeline is an FVC program that connects employers, education providers, and government agencies to prepare veterans for hard to fill jobs in the ag field - such as irrigation techs, drone operators, and pesticide applicators.  Learn about our progress, and what comes next.

AgCareers is the leading online career site and human resource service provider for agriculture, food, natural resources and biotechnology.  We share details of a new member benefit program that will allow FVC members to access AgCareers services.


  Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund

Knoxville & Tacoma

The Fellowship Fund has had a spectacular year, funding 100+ new recipients with an incredible new partnership with Wounded Warrior Project. We highlight the stories of prior awardees who share the tools that have made them most successful in the market, and look ahead to the launch of the 2022 Fellowship campaign!

  AgrAbility Resources for Disabled Veterans

Knoxville & Tacoma

The vision of AgrAbility is to enhance the quality of life for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities, so that they, their families, and their communities continue to succeed in rural America. For this target audience, "success" may be defined by many parameters, including: gainful employment in production agriculture or a related occupation; access to appropriate assistive technology needed for work and daily living activities; evidence-based information related to the treatment and rehabilitation of disabling conditions; and targeted support for family caregivers of AgrAbility customers.  Hear the latest from the National AgrAbility program from Cindra Chastain, Veteran Outreach Coordinator for the National program at Purdue University.

Breakout Series #1:

  Getting to Market

Knoxville & Tacoma

This session shares exciting new means for farmers to get their products to market.

MarketMaker is a national network of states that connects farmers and fishermen with food retailers, grocery stores, processors, caterers, chefs, and consumers.

Barn2Door is a digital platform that helps farms drive sales across the web, mobile, social and email with convenient, self-service ordering for their Farm’s products.


  Farming Easements on Federal Land

Knoxville & Tacoma

The Compatible Lands Foundation is a land trust that partners with military installations to protect readiness through the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program.  CLF works with installations and landowners to keep farm lands on their boundaries committed to agriculture, preventing urban development that might encroach on military reservations.  CLF will explain their program that makes protected farm lands available for use by Farmer Veterans


  Mental Health, Wellness & Worker Safety

Knoxville & Tacoma

Wounded Warrior Project - a non-profit veterans service organization - shares the programs and services they offer for the holistic journey of post-9/11 veterans.

The AgriSafe Network is a national program that promotes safety, health and wellness training for people who work in and support farmers and ranchers. AgriSafe highlights programs they offer that benefit mental health and worker safety, and they introduce new opportunities for FVC members to access their services.

Breakout Series #2:

   Selling to Market

Knoxville & Tacoma

National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) was established in 2013 to address the growing need to identify and certify both service-disabled and veteran-owned businesses (SD/VOBs) in the government and commercial (corporate) marketplace. NVBDC certification assures corporate partners that the veteran suppliers that they intend to contract with have gone through a rigorous vetting process.  Learn how to begin the certification process for you farm or ranch to benefit from NVBDC’s efforts.


  Food Safety

Knoxville & Tacoma

Learn about the latest developments from Dr. Yaohua Feng from the PurdueUniversity Department of Food Sciences.

Breakout Series #3:

Local Breakout Sessions—Knoxville Only


  Tennessee Beginning Farmer Programs


Learn about two local projects that help newcomers enter the field of farming that operate in collaboration with the FVC Tennessee Chapter.

• Tennessee State University’s Tennessee New Farmer Academy for Farmers, Ranchers and Returning Veterans will present their Beginning Farmer resources.  The speaker will be Finis Stribling, who is the TSU Director of TN New Farmer Academy and Jenni Goodrich, with East TN New Farmer Academy.

• The Field School/Tennessee F.A.R.M. mentorships is a beginning farmer training program that provides students with an overview of small-scale farming in East Tennessee.  Lexy Close is the director of the Field School, and Beginning Farmer Services Director at Appalachian RC & D Council, an AmeriCorps affiliate serving the Appalachian states.


  FVC Tennessee Path to Developing a Profitable Farm Design and Plan to Market


• Food Forests, also known as Forest Gardens, are gardens that mimic the structures of a natural forest, with multiple layers of plants stacked vertically to increase overall production.  Jim Artman is the founder of Appalachian Grit, a Yard to Table garden design and installation service that has created Food Forests in Tennessee.

• The Center for Profitable Agriculture provides educational programming and technical assistance to Tennessee farmers interested in a value-added enterprise to improve farm income.  Troy Dugger is the Coordinator at CPA.

• Value-Added Agritourism is a concept for adding value and revenues for farms by creating ways for the public to visit and benefit directly.  CPA will share how they have implemented successful Agritourism programs on their properties.

Breakout Series #4:

  Intensive Beginning Farming Training


This session will consist of a panel discussion by a number of successful veteran-focused farmer training programs working with the Farmer Veteran Coalition.

• Arcadia Farms is an educational farm located in Alexandria, Virginia, dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable local food system in the Washington, DC area.

• Servicemember Agricultural Vocation Education (SAVE) Farm is a teaching and healing center for all with a desire in agriculture with an emphasis on transitioning service members and veterans in Manhattan, Kansas.

• Texas Battleground to Breaking Ground is a three-phase educational program of the Texas AgrAbility Program and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

• Armed to Farm is a program of the National Center for Appropriate Technology, a national nonprofit based in Butte, Montana.  They operate training programs in California, Maryland, New Mexico and Texas.

This panel will be moderated by Ron Bridges, Tennessee Chapter President.


  Preparing Local Farm Systems


• Farm Grub B2B is food delivery service in Eastern Tennessee that purchases produce and meat from local farmers and ranchers, prepares and packages it, then sells the products online and delivers to customers.

• Alpha Omega Urban Farming is Veterans Urban Farm located in Memphis, TN.  It provides both a training and a therapeutic program for its participants, particularly to veterans suffering from PTSD.

Tennessee Farm Tours on November 19, 2021:

 Tour 1: Organic farm and small fruits and vegetable CSA: 

  • Seven Springs Farm to Table- A multigenerational diversified farm business specializing in blueberries, muscadines, sweet corn, green beans, and garden produce.  They also raise all-natural Angus beef and pork.  They sell from the farm and at farmers markets.  Tour will include the winery and vineyard, beef operation, farm store, and a custom Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
  • East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center (ETREC) Organic Crops Unit - Seven miles south of UT's Agriculture Campus, this 90-acre farm has 21 acres under production and 14 of those acres are certified organic. This farm provides land, equipment, and support for faculty and graduate students to conduct research, with a primary emphasis on sustainable and organic crop production. Additionally, there is an organic internship program at the farm, where undergraduate students get experience in all aspects of being a small, diversified vegetable grower. We will tour the seven high tunnels at the farm, featuring two research projects utilizing tomatoes. The aim of the first project is to investigate thermal protection strategies in high tunnels to extend the growing season without costly heaters. The second project involves evaluating the costs, benefits and ecosystem services of cover crops in year-round high tunnel production systems. There is also a newly renovated packing facility on the farm as well.


 Tour 2: Mixed Traditional Ag TN farms of dairy, tobacco, sheep and bees:

  • Hickory Corner Dairy ––Meet William Shipley, 5th generation dairy farmer with a big TN commercial operation for Weigel’s for ‘farm to table’. Come visit behind the scenes and learn from the TN dairy farmers, William Shipley and his family at the Hickory Corner Dairy on just how they get it done- delivering local and homegrown the freshest and best tasting mile to Weigel’s.
  • Six Stone Jars Farm, LLC is a member of FVC of TN and is Homegrown by Heroes certified by the TN Dept of Ag.  This Army Veteran owned operation has worked with TN Extension and the Soil Conservation Service to learn and implement farming practices that prioritize regenerating depleted soils, and focusing on healthy land and water resources while raising healthy, happy, productive livestock.  Enterprises on the farm include grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and eggs, as well as pasture-raised lamb and rabbit.


Tour 3:  Yard to Table and Urban Ag with a Mission:

  • CAC Beardsley Community Farm works to increase food security in Knoxville by providing fresh produce, accessible education, and land and resources for gardening.

  • Started in 2013, Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum (KBGA’s) Center for Urban Agriculture (CUA) was created to equip and educate local communities for cultivating healthy produce and sustainable lifestyles. The five garden zones are designed to engage gardeners of any age or experience level, from early-childhood learning to large-scale market gardening.

  • Knox City Farms (Old City Gardens) was started by Randy and Jenny Boyd, and managed by Brenna Wright from Abbey Fields Farms on April 1st, 2016. The gardens were originally patterned after Fenway Gardens in Boston, with the hope of folks living downtown having the ability to grow their own food. Knox City Farms has thirty private raised bed gardens available for folks to rent out and a larger 1/4-acre space which has been cultivated by Brenna, and other volunteers in the downtown area.  Over the past 5 years, Knox City Farms has produced thousands of pounds of food, connected with at least a dozen downtown_ restaurants and businesses in Knoxville, and last year even provided a salad CSA for folks in the downtown community.

  • University of Tennessee Gardens Tour and learn how university gardens can provide unique collaborations between the public, universities, extension and research, public gardens, and the agriculture industry. We will explore the 10-acre garden plus learn how the UT Gardens has served veterans and enhanced the agriculture/horticulture industry. Dr. Derrick Stowell will highlight a horticultural therapy program designed for veterans as well as discuss new opportunities for providing enhanced education and outreach for farmer veterans.

Local Breakout Sessions for Tacoma coming soon!

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