Arcadia Veteran Farmer Program Application 2021
Welcome to Arcadia's Veteran Farmer Program, a USDA-endorsed beginning farmer training program especially for military veterans.
The Veteran Farmer Program has two training tracks.
The Veteran Farmer Reserve is a 12-month tuition based program that takes place one weekend a month for the full year. This is the best program for someone with a full-time job or school, or who already owns land and wants to start farming soon (or already is), or who is just exploring the idea of farming in the future. The Reserve Program will begin its program year in January 2021.
The Veteran Farm Fellowship is a full-time, 9-month, paid, on-farm apprenticeship at our farm in Southeast Fairfax County. Fellows are also required to participate in the year-long Veteran Reserve weekends. The Farm Fellowship will begin in March 2021.
About the program:
The Veteran Farmer Program grounds veterans in the science and art of cultivation; helps them develop practical farm skills; exposes them to the multitude of opportunities in sustainable agriculture; and allows them to emerge from the program with a business plan for their current or future operation. It's hard work but it is also really, really fun. You'll be with like-minded people, expand your network and your thinking, and be prepared to turn your fantasy of farming into a reality. It won't be easy, but it will be satisfying work.
Our program is effective. More than a third of the veterans and active-duty servicemembers and spouses trained so far have launched businesses, seven have already started farming or planning farms on newly purchased land, family land, or leased land. Four attended a week-long agroforestry academy with full scholarships through their involvement with Arcadia. Three attended the annual Farmer Veteran Coalition conference.
We continue to engage and support these new farmers (and now friends) as they build new careers in agriculture. We are currently training 26 veterans in the same program, and they are tapping into previous classes as a resource and network.
The curriculum will be adjusted as necessary to respond to what is growing on Arcadia Farm, the weather, newly published works, and the schedules of guest instructors and partner farms.
VETERAN FARMER RESERVE:
The Veteran Farmer Reserve Program is a tuition-based training program that takes place one weekend a month for 12 months beginning in January 2021. Program participants are required to complete an additional 40 hours of individual on-farm work hours scheduled 8AM-1PM Monday-Saturday May-November.
Based at Arcadia Farm at Woodlawn in Alexandria, VA, outside the gates of Fort Belvoir, but extending into the rural areas surrounding the national capital region, this training is for participants who are committed to learning how to grow food professionally and to planning a successful farm business operation. This is not gardening education; we are creating the next generation of farmers.
You must be willing to travel to our farm and to surrounding farms on scheduled weekends, bearing transportation costs. Full and partial scholarships based on financial need and mitigating circumstances, to include travel expenses, are possible.
WHO SHOULD APPLY: Veterans with honorable or general discharges and active and reserve military personnel. Military spouses and immediate family members will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with preference given to those with a partner/family member in the program.
WHEN TO APPLY: We are accepting applications for the Reserve on a rolling basis; please do not delay applying as class size is limited.
DEADLINES: Applications for the Reserve are due Nov. 30th.
WHAT RESERVE PARTICIPANTS CAN EXPECT: Each monthly weekend seminar will include some combination of the following:
• Classroom time structured around farm and business practices
• Practical cultivation skills and hands-on work on the farm or in the greenhouse
• Field visits to other farms or agricultural operations
• Independent reading to be completed before each monthly seminar
We will cover:
Farm Business Law & Taxes; Botany Basics; Soil Science; Cover Cropping; Crop Planning; Crop Rotation; Greenhouse Skills; Cultivation; Tractor O&M; Harvesting; Land Assessment; Pest & Disease Management; Financing; Branding; Marketing; Recordkeeping; Quickbooks Basics; Business Planning
You will receive textbooks; meals and snacks each day of in-person group training; one-on-one and small-group instruction; and individual support and consultation between training weekends. After you graduate, you'll continue on in our network of graduates, with learning, social, and business opportunities forwarded to you as they arise.
You will train alongside other veterans and military personnel.
Most training days begin before 9 am and last until 5 pm. We do not currently offer housing so participants who are traveling from out of the area make their own arrangements. This is taken into account with scholarships.
Anticipated 2021 Reserve Program Training Dates (please be available for both days, every weekend):
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have transitioned to online training for the classroom training portions of the Reserve Program. We will continue to hold in-person training for Farm Visits, Field Trips, and hands-on training opportunities at Arcadia Farm. All in-person training is conducted outdoors, with masks and appropriate physical distancing required. We are working to develop additional accommodations for those who are unable to participate in the in-person training opportunities due to the pandemic. Please contact us directly at
if you have additional questions.
WHAT IS REQUIRED OF PARTICIPANTS:
$1,995 tuition. Full and partial scholarships are available based on financial need
--$300 deposit due in January. The deposit is refundable to full scholarship trainees with the satisfactory completion of the program as well as to those who pay full tuition.
--40 on-farm work hours at Arcadia or partner farms. This can be completed with one full work day per month between February and November at Arcadia, or two week-long internships at partner farms, or some combination thereof.
--We allow no more than 4 days of absences from the weekend training program for successful completion of the program and return of deposits to scholarship students.
Reserve Farmers are required to pay attention to detail, complete assigned tasks, readings, and records; to report directly to Arcadia farmers for instruction, observation, and direction; to articulate observations, questions, and needs, and to operate in a safe manner at all times. Reservists must also have access to reliable transportation. Above all, Reservists need to enjoy what we do, and keep a positive attitude, a sense of humor, curiosity, and goodwill.
VETERAN FARM FELLOWSHIP:
The Farm Fellowship is a paid, full-time position assisting and learning from our farmers at our vegetable farm. Arcadia's program is an approved VA On-The-Job training program and participants are eligible to access their GI Bill benefits to supplement their income. The total amount depends on the level of GI Bill benefits each Fellow has remaining.
You must be available to work Monday through Friday on our farm in southern Fairfax County, VA. Public transportation is available but often slow, so private transportation is recommended.
Application Process: In addition to this application form, please email a cover letter, resume, and 3 references to
with "Veteran Farm Fellowship Application" in the subject line. As the Fellowship is a job, the hiring process includes a review of your submitted information, a series of phone and in-person interviews, and a reference check if selected for the position.
Application Deadline: Applications will be reviewed as they are received, but are due no later than November 15, 2020.
Arcadia Farm continues to operate as an essential business during the pandemic. The Farm Fellows will work on the farm with Arcadia's agriculture staff following our COVID-19 safety protocols for employee health and safety, as well as food safety. We expect all employees to follow our organizational COVID-19 policies and to understand and follow our infectious disease plan. Please contact us directly at
if you have additional questions.
Arcadia is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Prohibits Discrimination and Harassment of Any Kind. Arcadia is committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity for all employees and to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment. All employment decisions at Arcadia are based on business needs, job requirements and individual qualifications, without regard to race, color, religion or belief, family or parental status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate. Arcadia will not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on any of these characteristics. Arcadia encourages applicants of all ages.
With gratitude to our sponsors who have made the Veteran Farmer Program possible:
Grace Communications Foundation
Jen Walker Team
Neighborhood Restaurant Group
Prince Charitable Trusts
The 2017 Class
SecDef Jim Mattis visits with Arcadia Veteran Farmers
Laron Murrell, Veteran Farm Fellow 2015-2016
Veteran Reserve at Cibola Farm
Veteran Farm Reserve visit to Moutoux & Mountain View Farms
Veteran Reservists learn transplanting skills
Classroom training in Woodlawn mansion
Learning drip irrigation skills
I am applying for the Veteran Farm Fellowship. I understand this is a full-time, on-farm paid position at Arcadia farm from March 2021 to November 2021, and includes participation at no charge in the Arcadia Veteran Farmer Reserve program.
I am applying for the Veteran Farmer Reserve. I understand that this is a program that runs one weekend a month, every month for a year. It is a tuition-based program, with the possibility of needs-based financial assistance. I understand that this program begins in Jan. 2021, and is based in Alexandria, Virginia, and will periodically involve travel to farms within approximately 100 miles of Alexandria.
I understand that in addition to attending the monthly, weekend-long training program I am also responsible for completing 80 additional hours of on-farm work, either at Arcadia or other farms. This practicum will help me develop specific skills and also help me determine if farming is a good fit for me professionally.
Running a farm business requires a significant investment in time learning about finance, taxation, bookkeeping, and regulations - and then continued desk work maintaining all of those records. This program includes substantial classroom time and take-home exercises best completed on a computer. By checking each box below, you acknowledge your understanding that these are essential functions of requirements of this training program. If you cannot check all the boxes, skip to the next question.
Learning new paper and computer based systems for tracking money and activities
Maintaining detailed written records of things such as planting and harvesting dates, quantities planted and harvested, and related financial data
Learning regulatory requirements such as for irrigation water runoff, food safety, worker safety, and local zoning, and establishing and maintaining systems to document your compliance.
Current job/work situation
on Active Duty
on Active Reserve
a Reserve member
A spouse or family member
For veterans only: when did you serve in the military? (ie June 2015 - June 2017)
For Active and Reserve: on what date will you separate?
Did you serve in OIF/OEF?
I served during the wars but was not deployed to those theaters
Tell us more about your military experience --it helps us as we construct the program each year!
Nature of discharge
Educational Background (High School/GED, college if applicable, degrees. Please include dates)
Please list any other skills that you have learned through work, military service, or other ways, that you will apply to a career in agriculture.
Tell us why you want to learn to farm. Include details about plans you have for your own farm, if applicable. What do you want to grow? On what scale?
What do you think your military experience will bring to a new career in farming?
Please indicate your interest in the following. Your response will shape field trips and classroom lessons.
Vegetables & herbs
Tree fruits & nuts
Raising cows (meat & dairy)
Raising sheep or goats (meat, dairy or wool)
Raising chickens for eggs or meat
Hydro- or aquaponics
Organic / ecological growing methods
Growing flowers and ornamentals (horticulture)
Are there other things that you would like us to know about you, or anything else that you wish to comment on?
Will you require a full or partial scholarship to participate? We require that full scholarship recipients make a refundable deposit of $300 to participate in the program. The deposit will be returned on completion of the program.
Farming is physically rigorous work. By checking each box below, you acknowledge your understanding that these are essential functions or requirements of this training program. If you cannot check all the boxes, skip to the next question.
Lifting, moving or carrying weights of 50 lbs on a regular basis.
Working out of doors for long periods of time in hot, cold or wet weather
Bending or squatting for long periods of time
If you have a physical limitation, injury or processing issue that prevents you from checking any of the boxes above, Arcadia may be able to accommodate your training regardless. If you are still interested in a career in agriculture, please describe below the nature of your limitation, and let's talk about what's possible!
Rate your physical condition
Are you allergic to any foods or medicines? Please describe. (Note: There is poison ivy as well as stinging and biting insects around the Farm, and we share "family meals" on our training weekends.)
Do you have a valid and current driver’s license and reliable transportation?
Please provide three personal or professional references.
A copy of your responses will be emailed to the address you provided.
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