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Heroic Food: Helping Veterans through Sustainable Farming


Heroic-Farms-by-Ennead-LeadAmerican farming is in somewhat of a crisis, seeing as 30% of farmers are currently over the age of 65 and only 10% are younger than 35.

At the same time, American veterans often face a multitude of challenges when they return home from the traumatic environment of war. Enter Heroic Food and Ennead Architects/Ennead Lab, who have collaborated with RAFT Landscape Architecture to create Heroic Food Farm, where veterans learn sustainable farming methods while easing back into civilian life.

Ennead has already finished the first part of the long-term plan: finding and renovating the right space. The farm will be located in Claverack, New York and is comprised of nineteen acres that will include eight supportive housing units, a community center and a greenhouse.

With the current dearth of farmers, it will be very advantageous to the environment if new farmers are taught sustainable farming methods. If sustainable farmers replace older ones, soon the number of farmers using environmentally friendly methods will be greater than the number that use traditional, unhealthy methods.


Screenwriter Leora Barish started Heroic Food in 2014. She believes that veterans and farming make a perfect match and explains that farming is a lifestyle. Soldiers have “the tenacity and fortitude that make them uniquely suited to help solve a dire national crisis.” In addition, the veterans have found farming healing, and they can recover a sense of purpose there, according to Barish.

Learning about sustainable farming may also give some veterans a new perspective on environmentalism. Since the military is not a sector always associated with being environmentally friendly, veterans could be a powerful ally in the fight to make modern living sustainable and healthy for the environment.



Images (c) Ennead Lab/RAFT

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