Local Veteran Finds Peace on Farm
Steve Acheson grew up on a dairy farm in Campbellsport, WI and that’s where his passion for agriculture started. At the age of 18 he joined the Army and served four missions. After serving, he got an engineering degree, but he wanted to do more.
Steve started an organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm a little over one year ago. A CSA is an alternative, locally based economic model of agriculture. It also can be referred to as a network of people who support local farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Peacefully Organic Produce is proud to be a veteran-led CSA farm in the Madison area.
After just one year in the making, he has 40 CSA members and hopes to get to 120 by next year. Steve runs four acres of certified organic vegetables. He also has an herb garden, four acres for produce crops, and hives for honey, including; melons, potatoes, onions, radishes, peppers pumpkins, clover, squash, and carrots just to name a few. Next year he hopes to have egg layers so he can have a rotational poultry operation as well. The majority of his workers are veterans, like himself. The farm aims to provide a peaceful place for veterans to return home and learn about organic agriculture.
One of Steve’s goals is to educate veterans about agriculture. “The biggest thing is to provide the veterans the ability to be productive with their time and be hopefully come back from war and become a productive member in society,” said Steve “Second is to help veterans heal and be part of something that is meaningful to the community.”
Steve’s future goal for the farm is not only growing his client base, but also reaching out to veterans. Some of the veterans are experiencing disabilities that prevent them from normal employment and Peacefully Organic Produce helps them through compensated work therapy. Veteran will come out a few days a week just to work a little bit and get paid a little bit. Steve noted, “Over 70 percent of veterans from Wisconsin are from rural communities so the farm is a good fit for them.”
Due to the heavy physical demands of organic farming and being injured, Steve is working with AgrAbility in hopes of making the work safer and easier not only for himself, but also for the other veterans on the farm. AgrAbility is looking forward to working with Steve and making connections with veterans.
For more information about Steve’s endeavors with Peacefully Organic Produce, visit http://popscsa.com.