WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue Extension and Indiana AgrAbility are teaming up for a series of workshops and farm tours this summer and fall, focused on food safety and targeted toward military veteran farmers.
The workshops will be June 30, July 21 and Aug. 17 on three diverse farms in Rossville, North Salem and Scottsburg, respectively. Participants can enjoy learning alongside fellow farmer-veterans who share similar experiences and are interested in a farming career or lifestyle.
“These tours are a great opportunity for veterans that are already farming or who want to farm, to learn new techniques or ideas that might not have occurred to them,” said Cindy Chastain, veteran outreach coordinator for the Purdue-based Indiana AgrAbility Project. “It’s also a great place to meet and connect with fellow veterans who have a passion for farming and to learn from their experiences.”
The June 30 tour will run noon to 4 p.m. and feature Silverthorn Farm, a fruit-and-vegetable operation owned by Nate and Emily Parks. They will share their experiences in selling produce at farmers markets, restaurants and grocery stores. This tour will include a session on best food safety practices on a vegetable farm.
Next up will be the Lowe Farm, running 1-4 p.m. on July 21. Participants will meet Zach and Brianne Lowe, who operate a self-sufficient homestead. This tour will touch on a variety of topics, including home food preservation, top bar beehives, raising small livestock and many others. The Lowes will show participants how to operate a productive homestead without having to quit their day jobs or jumping off the grid.
On Aug. 17 from 1-4:30 p.m., participants will tour Goat Milk Stuff, a farm and business operated by the Jonas family. This dairy goat operation produces goat milk soaps, cheeses, yogurts and more. There will be a question-and-answer session with the family CEO detailing how the farm got started and has grown into the operation it is today.
The workshops are part of a USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant program, and no fee is required for attendance. However, participants must register for the tours individually online. Register for the June 30 event at tinyurl.com/silverthorn-tour, for the July 21 tour at tinyurl.com/homesteading-tour and for the Aug. 17 event at tinyurl.com/goatmilkstuff-tour.