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Veterans In Green Bay Area Pursue Small-Scale Farming

Veterans Sign On For Northeast Wisconsin Technical College's Degree In Sustainable And Organic Farming And Gardening

Above, a frame from the new documentary "Ground Operations."

Some veterans are re-adjusting to civilian life by learning how to be small farmers.

A three-acre plot on Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s grounds is home to a new Sustainable and Organic gardening associate’s degree. The program teaches students how to grow and market vegetables, poultry, and bees.

Valerie Dantoin-Adamski, the program’s director, said that so far a few veterans have been attracted to the degree. She said it could be a helpful transition to go from a place “where there’s a lot of destruction, to a place where there’s growth and healing and you’re feeding people.”

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This Saturday, the school is hosting a screening of the documentary “Ground Operations.” It shows how veterans nationwide have turned to small-scale farming to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder — and perhaps to make a profit as well.

Dantoin-Adamski said it’s not a far-fetched idea.

“The farmers I know in the Green Bay area, we formed what we call a SLO farmers’ co-op — Sustainable, Local, and Organic,” said Dantoin-Adamski. “And we can’t supply enough food for the demand in this area.”

She said when the program turns out its first graduates next year, they can find work at area farms or get some land and go out on their own.

Jeremy Galica is Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s veteran’s advisor, and is a veteran himself. He said small-scale farming is a good option, since the military is downsizing and veterans are looking for new careers.

“I think being outside in nature and wilderness and all that is very calming and peaceful,” he said.

People who go to the showing of “Ground Operations” on Saturday will be able to sample food from the students’ gardens.

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