The Veteran Farmer Program has two learning tracks.
The first is the Veteran Farmer Reserve, a 12-month tuition based program that takes place one weekend a month.
The second track is the Veteran Farm Fellowship, a full-time, one-year, paid, on-farm apprenticeship at our farm in Southeast Fairfax County. Fellows are also required to participate in the Veteran Reserve weekends.
Both the Fellowship and the Reserve Program will launch their program year in January 2019.
Please indicate on this application whether you are applying to the Fellowship or the Reserve program, or would like to be considered for both.
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. Of the 12 veterans in Arcadia's first year of the program (2016), 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 18 veterans in the same program, and they are tapping into the 2016 class 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.
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 2019. Program participants are required to complete an additional 40 hours of individual on-farm work hours before the end of the year. 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.
FELLOWSHIP:The Fellowship is a modestly 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.
WHO SHOULD APPLY: Veterans with honorable or general discharges and active and reserve military personnel. Military spouses will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with preference given to those with a spouse in the program.
WHEN TO APPLY: Fellows should apply as soon as possible. We expect to hire a fellow in late November for a January 15 start. We are accepting members of the Reserve on a rolling basis; please do not delay applying as class size is limited.
DEADLINES: Fellowship Application: Oct. 15 Reserve Application Nov. 30
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 & TaxesBotany BasicsSoil ScienceCover CroppingCrop PlanningCrop RotationGreenhouse SkillsCultivationTractor O&MHarvestingLand AssessmentPest & Disease ManagementFinancingBrandingMarketingRecordkeepingQuickbooks BasicsBusiness Planning
You will receive textbooks; two delicious home-cooked meals and snacks each day of 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.
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.
Fellows and 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.
Anticipated 2019 Reserve Program Training Dates (please be available for both days, every weekend):Jan. 26/27Feb. 23/24March 30/31April 27/28May 18/19June 22/23July 27/28Aug 24/25Sept 28/29Oct 26/27Nov 16/17December 14/15
With gratitude to our sponsors who have made the Veteran Farmer Program possible:USDABoeingGrace Communications FoundationPrince Charitable TrustsNorthrop GrummanBAE Systems Neighborhood Restaurant GroupClearedJobs.NetCoastal Sunbelt