USDA Gives A Vote of Confidence
We are very excited to share the news of our selection for the largest grant in the nation conferred by USDA in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs to support our program to teach Veterans to farm and incubate their new new urban agribusinesses in Houston.
With a three-year $1 million grant we will expand our training program to serve 24 Vets and bring a new Veteran Outreach Ambassador onboard at Hope Farms.
Our trainees go through a 2,000 hour multi-disciplinary program of horticulture and business curriculum over the course of one or two years. The USDA grant underwrites a stipend which is the equivalent of $17 per hour whether they are opting for the full-time or partime schedule. Then we help them launch their new enterprises.
One of our motivations in tailoring the Hope Farmer Training Program to Vets was the discovery of how well warriors with post traumatic stress responded to working in a horticultural environment.
“When you’ve been surrounded by death, hate and tragedy, being in a field surrounded by life–the soil the plants the sounds the wind, it’s extremely theraputic. Healing does happen,” said Daniel Smith, graduate of our Hope Farmer Training program. Now veterans can continue to give back to their community by nourishing them with healthy food. What could be better? Pictured above are Vet Trainees, Christopher Katthage and Jose Montemayor with Justin Myers, Chief Agricutlural Officer and Jamie Zarate, Hope Farms Manager.