homepage logo

Farming for their futures

By Staff | Aug 12, 2011

Former Marine Sgt. Colin Archipley, founder of Archi’s Acres and the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training course, gives an introduction speech during the VSAT graduate business plan presentation here July 21.

MIRAMAR, Calif. (USMC) – Organic crop production through hydroponic farming, profitable self-sustaining opportunities and a skill building course aimed at aiding fellow and former military service members are the billets to be filled in the creation of the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training.

The course, founded by former Marine Sgt. Colin Archipley and his wife Karen Archipley, works in correlation with the Disabled American Veterans and is designed to aide military service members transitioning out of the military to find job placement in the hydroponic and organic farming industries.

The Archipleys created the program after identifying an employment need for military veterans.

In 2007, Colin Archipley began greenhouse farming, which became a growing business plan opportunity to aide job possibilities.

The course is covered by tuition assistance through Veteran Affairs and scholarship opportunities through Mira Costa College, located in Oceanside, Calif.

Capt. Patrick C. Keplinger, the headquarters squadron computer network service division officer, presents his business plan to a board of experts on July 21 for critiques on how to improve his commercial hydroponic farming business plan. Keplinger, a Veterans Sustainable Agricultural Training graduate, presented his ideas as the final step in the six-week VSAT course, which is designed to help veterans learn profitable farming skills upon leaving the military.

Each class lasts six weeks and covers all the steps necessary for crop production in an urban environment utilizing hydroponic techniques, as well as creation of a business plan to be presented to a board of experts for critiquing at the end of the course.

Upon the final presentation to the panel and implementation of the changes accordingly, Karen Archipley finds job placement for the skills cultivated in each graduate.

“The VSAT program is so unique that Karen follows up with the graduates even after they are already done; she continues to make sure they are doing OK,” said Maj. Erin H. Mackin, public affairs deputy director of Marine Corps Installations West and a Mandeville, La., native.

“Her job begins when the graduates finish the course. She starts finding them jobs working with organic food businesses.”

The program has been growing in popularity due to recent success stories such as students creating growing farms that serve industry chains such as Whole Foods Market and other major agricultural companies.

The Archipleys aide each student in gaining employment.

The development of both crops and business plans ultimately determines the business channel they guide the graduates down.

In doing this, the Archipleys are creating productive service prospects for military veterans that have found themselves without sufficient direction and job training for profitable employment outside of the military.

Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page