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From the Battlefield to the Corn Field and More Weekly Food Stories

Garrett Dwyer returned to farming after combat, thanks to a University of Nebraska program. (Progressive Farmer image by Scott Kingsley)

Garrett Dwyer returned to farming after combat, thanks to a University of Nebraska program. (Progressive Farmer image by Scott Kingsley)

Forty Five percent of the soldiers employed in the armed forces come from rural areas and as part of a plan to revitalize these communities the The University of Nebraska–Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) recently created the Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots (CBTCB) program, aimed in part at helping young veterans returning from combat zones go into farming. The program is open to all military, veterans and family members, with the goal of partnering with other agricultural schools and, by next spring, to offer classes at military bases. Some veterans, like Garret Dwyer (above) are also participating in the 100 Beef Cow Ownership Advantage Program, a two-year Associate’s degree program aimed that sets up qualified students with a 2-3% USDA FSA loan to buy 100 head of cattle.
Read more from ABC News: Young Veterans Making Agriculture Next Mission and The Progressive Farmer: From Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots.


Ever wonder why vast fields of the Midwest are planted with soy and corn? One reason may be that federal policies make it more difficult for farmers’ to grow a diverse selection of fruits and vegetables. A new report  released by the Farmers’ Legal Action Group, Inc.,  Planting the Seeds for Public Health: How the Farm Bill Can Help Farmers to Produce and Distribute Healthy Foods, includes the often overlooked ways in which federal policies discourage farmers from producing and strategically marketing food crops, such as fruits and vegetables. Some key findings include:

1. Fruit and vegetable farmers lack a safety net to protect them from natural disasters
in a manner comparable to programs that are available for farmers producing major
commodity crops, such as corn, soybeans and wheat;
2. Fruit and vegetable price and yield data are not collected to ensure a robust body of
knowledge to guide policy regarding these important sectors of agriculture;
3. Crop insurance, disaster assistance, and loan and conservation programs are not
designed to address the unique characteristics of fruit and vegetable production and
marketing; and
4. Nutrition program expenditures are not adequately directed to ensure children,
including those from low-income households, receive healthy food.

Download the report here > Planting the Seeds for Public Health: How the farm bill can help farmers to produce and distribute healthy foods.

Related: See the Utne Reader’s Want Food Security? Start Seeing Staples.

In light of Frito-Lay’s recent farmwashing, using a traveling greenhouse to promote the Lay’s Potato Chip brand, maybe we need a reminder of what the terms local and organic really mean. From Change.org/Sustainable Food: 8 Misleading Food Label Terms Every Eater Should Know.


New on Edible Radio: Hosts Kurt and Christine Friese chat with Diane Ott Whealy about the past, present and future of Seed Savers Exchange. Listen to the podcast here: Episode 45 Blue Plate Special – Diane Ott Whealy.
Nothing is hipper this summer than canning and preserving. But Rachel Saunders didn’t suddenly start making jam when it became trendy. The founder of Blue Chair Fruit experimented with fruits, flavor combinations, equipment and technique for a decade before launching her company in Oakland in 2008. Listen to Jane Black’s podcast with Rachel Saunders here: Episode 44 Smart Food – Rachel Saunders.

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