Veterans support Mountain Home VA farmers market

Market also educates Veterans on VA services


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Starting in April, the Mountain Home VA Medical Center in Johnson City, Tennessee has hosted a farmers market for patients and the community. The market is so popular that instead of closing for the season, it is now in the main atrium year round.

Every Thursday at 1 p.m., the smell of roasted nuts, banana bread, and popcorn fills the hospital’s main entrance. The growing market is also very popular with VA employees, who are eager to support local and Veteran businesses.

Veteran vendor

Donald Schaffer, a U.S. Army Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran, started as one of the first market vendors.

Farmers Market

U.S. Army Veteran Donald Schaffer of Riverview Farmer and Gardens is a Veteran vendor at Mountain Home VA’s Farmers Market.

“As soon as we heard about it, we were the first applicants,” Schaffer said. “We wanted to give back to Veterans.”

Schaffer and his girlfriend operate Riverview Farm and Gardens, and is a member of Homegrown by Heroes, a program maintained by the Farmer Veteran Coalition.

Since joining Mountain Home’s farmers market, Schaffer has enrolled into VA health care and recommends farming to other Veterans.

“Planting, growing, taking care of your crops keeps you busy,” Schaffer added.  “It keeps your mind and body active and healthy.”

The farmers market provides an easy to access place to buy local foods. It also is a place to educate Veterans on VA services.

“Most people go to hospitals because they have to, but we wanted to give Veterans something to look forward to when visiting,” said Bob Collett, Mountain Home’s Veterans Experience Officer. “Farmers Markets, Red Coat Ambassadors at the front door, valet parking, rock gardens, parking shuttles – these are all programs to provide a world class Veterans Experience at Mountain Home.”

During the market, VA provides cooking demonstrations, healthy eating habits, nutritional advice, and other services. Each week, more and more Veterans, their families, caregivers, and community members attend the market to support their local and Veteran farmers.

To find a farmers market close to you, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Local Food Directories: National Farmers Market Directory

Author

Tim Hudak

  joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.

Comments

  1. John A. Kramer    

    There is an extensive and historic Farmers’ Market on the West side of Cleveland…called “West Side Market”.

  2. Frank Adams    

    Denver could use one, Farmers Market
    Frank

  3. Wayne    

    Please provide useable links or edit your article to remove how to fond local farmer markets. The links are like a dog chasing its tail. I was wanting to share this article, but I’m not due to the bad links. Thank you.

  4. D Lynch    

    Need a farmer market in the Leesburg/Wildwood area.

  5. robert smith    

    also a mountain home in south idaho.

  6. IRVIN NOWICKI    

    STILL CANNOT FIND A DIRECTORY THAT I CAN SUBMIT MY INFO AND GET A LISTING OF FARMERS MARKETS IN OR CLOSE TO ME ALL I FIND IS A BUNCH OF BRAGGING AND PATTIMG YOUR SELF ON YOUR BACKSIDE

  7. WertJanice    

    When giving the money to the programs and not the Veteran that money is eat up paying their employees and classes which doesn’t help! A Veteran farmer sets in class,goes home with papers and numbers now was that worth 1.3 million? No! Classes dont help jack!

  8. carl ralph daily    

    where is mountain home located?
    thanks , carl

    1. Sammy    

      in north central Arkansas. i nice town.

Comments are closed.