Lehigh Valley

Veterans learning farming skills at Rodale Institute

MAXATAWNY TOWNSHIP, Pa. - At the Rodale Organic Farm in Maxatawny Township, the quiet fields seem very far from the battlefield.

"I was in the army from 2002 to 2008," begins Adam McDermotd.

"I was an infantry motorman," says Brian Titus, adding, "And I spent a year in Afghanistan."

"I don't know…I'd rather not talk about that stuff very much," he says quietly.

Adam explains, "Whenever I got out, I kind of had some problems transitioning to society and I kind of created my own therapy through agriculture and habitat."

That's how veterans like Adam, Brian and others, ended up at Rodale Institute, where they offer two programs for veterans, giving them the tools to make the next step.

"It's able to give these veterans a time to de-stress and decompress," says Lyndsey Antanitis, the Veteran Farmer Training Program Coordinator.

Lyndsey is also a veteran herself.

"After I got out, I worked in several odd jobs and I realized I needed to get back into continuing my service and really helping people," she says.

Brian shares that feeling.

"And the only thing that made any sense to me was a farmer. I like being outside, I like working with my hands, I like producing things," he says.

The programs here offer both a hands-on approach and classroom settings, and after they're done, they are ready to flourish.

"Through my internship and networking, I've secured my own farm," Brian says proudly.

Adam tells us when he goes home to Richmond, Virginia, "I'm going to start my own produce farm."

And so their service continues to grow and, thanks to these programs, helps our veterans put down strong roots.

If you would like more information about the veterans' programs offered at Rodale Institute, visit their website https://rodaleinstitute.org/veterans/  


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