Veterans will have the chance to dive into farming through a $750,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.
The grant was awarded to the Springfield Community Gardens and will allow area veterans the opportunity to train at Amanda Belle’s Farm, according to a news release from CoxHealth. The farm is a collaborative venture with the hospital and Springfield Community Gardens.
“My father was a veteran, a farmer and worked at CoxHealth for 30 years, so this is an important milestone for me,” said Maile Auterson, director and co-founder of Springfield Community Gardens, via news release. “I’ve heard many stories about how he couldn’t wait to get off duty from the submarines under the ocean, where he served in the U.S. Navy for 21 years, and come home to the Ozarks and farm, so I’m especially honored to be part of an initiative that benefits farmers.”
Under the grant, the organization can hire five veterans for farm-based positions. Springfield Community Gardens will also provide 24 workshops, and hands-on training of organic small-scale farming techniques to 50 veteran participants in partnership with MU Extension, the news release stated.
“We are thrilled to be in support of this initiative, as we work every day to help our veterans and first responders improve their lives,” said Kerry Miller, volunteer coordinator at CoxHealth and co-founder of the health system’s Wellness for Warriors program. “The grant, and the work being done through it, has the potential to forever change lives, right here in our community.”
On-site training will take place at Amanda Belle’s Farm, which is located near Cox South.
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