Wednesday, November 11, 2009

From the Combat Zone to the Farm

On today's Veteran's Day-themed episode of Here and Now on NPR, the last few minutes were devoted to a story from Matthew McCue, an Iraq veteran who returned home from combat and found himself drawn to farming. In Iraq, where he resigned himself to death as a way to get through the stress of combat, he noticed the importance of farmers markets during wartime--as he saw it, they were holding things together amidst the chaos of war, and in a way were "more powerful than any other piece of infrastructure," even the police. After returning home, with the help of the Farmer-Veteran Coalition he found his way to French Garden Farm in California, where he now helps to grow everything from potatoes to rainbow carrots, his favorite veggie. "Farming is everything," he says, noting that, like soldiering, it requires your attention 24 hours a day. Now, McCue wants to go back Iraq, but as a farmer rather than a soldier. "I can do the world a lot more good with a shovel than I can with an M-16," he says.

To hear McCue tell his story, visit the show's website. And to learn more about the Farmer-Veteran Coalition, which helps returning vets find training, employment, and places to heal, click here.

Thanks to all of the men and women who serve and have served in our armed forces, and to groups like FVC that help them to find the resources they need here at home. Here's hoping that one day we can all trade our M-16s for shovels.

1 comment:

  1. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. If only.