Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields, The Veteran-Farmer Movement

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EcoJustice RadioDulanie Ellis, Director of Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields, discusses the veteran-farmer movement with EcoJustice Radio, how combat veterans reclaim their purpose through regenerative farming.

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Ground Operations, veteran farmersGetting Back to the Land Heals Post-Traumatic Stress

In 2020, according to the Office of Management & Budget, the U.S. budget for national defense was a whopping $725 billion or 11% of federal spending. Imagine if we reallocated this budget toward farming and regeneration. Coming on the heels of the US pullout from Afghanistan, it is imperative to consider the role and purpose of veterans, and regenerative farming has proven an excellent alternative.

What should their mission now be? Returning combat veterans may encounter experiences with unemployment, PTSD, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness, and social isolation. Veterans are forever changed by the wars and conflicts they participate in and often reenter civilian life physically or psycho-emotionally wounded, disillusioned, or differently abled. They often report feeling forgotten, evidenced by the grim statistic that every 80 minutes, a veteran commits suicide. Roughly 11% of today’s homeless population is made up of veterans.

There is great potential to tap into the skill-sets, selflessness, and service-oriented mindset of veterans. They seem to be perfectly suited to the adaptability, determination, tenacity, and innovation required of farmers.

Winslow Homer - Veteran in a New Field

The Veteran in a New Field (1865) by Winslow Homer. Original from The MET museum.

Amidst a burgeoning human population, recent pandemic disruptions, and the tumultuous nature of our times, food security and sovereignty are global concerns. The USDA has called for 1 million new farmers over the next 10 years to fill the gap of our aging and retiring farmers.

On this show, filmmaker Dulanie Ellis, Director of Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields, discusses how returning combat veterans are reclaiming a sense of purpose through sustainable and regenerative farming and changing the world.

Dulanie Ellis launched her documentary film company, Walk Your Talk Productions, in 2000. What started as a burning desire to help protect world-class farmland in Ventura County, became a career in films about ecological farming. Her award-winning documentary focuses on multiple stories of veterans who are called to the land, to farm, ranch and heal. The Ground Operations social action campaign used the film to help build a national movement of new farmer-veterans.

Podcast Website: http://ecojusticeradio.org/
Podcast Blog: https://www.wilderutopia.com/category/ecojustice-radio/
Support the Podcast: https://socal350.org/contribute-to-socal-350-climate-action/

Executive Producer: Jack Eidt
Interview by Carry Kim
Intro by Jessica Aldridge
Engineer: Blake Lampkin
Show Created by Mark and JP Morris
Music: Javier Kadry
Episode 118
Image: Ground Operations Film

Updated 22 November 2021

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist and designer, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Partners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt