Veterans eagerly learning farming skills

DENVER -- At one time in Taylor Drew's life, he was a protector.

"I was an aviation electronics technician," he said.

That was in the United States Navy. Now his role in life is one of provider.

"I am the executive chef and managing partner at Lo-Hi Steak Bar in Denver," he said.

Drew's journey was a bit convoluted before he found his passion in food.

Veteran Jeremy Zeidman was born and raised in Chicago.  He served four years in the Navy as a nuclear reactor operator. His civilian mission is still unclear.

"I know I want to be my own boss," Zeidman said. "I know I want to have my own business. It's kind of figuring out what is that business."

Both men, along with other veterans, are at the Denver Botanic Gardens  Chatfield Gardens cultivating vegetables and maybe a new career path with the program Veterans to Farmers.

"We want to see veterans establish themselves in the farming community. There is a lack of farmers and definitely a surplus of veterans that want to take those positions," said Richard Murphy, co-founder of Veterans to Farmers.

In its third year, the nonprofit provides hands-on experience on planting, growing and ultimately selling produce.

They also learn about the business side of farming as well.

"Building a business plan, networking with farmers, how to take a great idea and actually turn it into a successful farm," Murphy said.

The 10-week program is free to the vets. In three years, more than 80 veterans have taken advantage of the new career path.

At one time, these men and women protected our country.  Now, they are learning to serve it in a slightly different way.

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