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Farmer Veteran Coalition Tennessee

A visit with Jim Artman

Jim Artman is an Army Veteran, the Founder and Owner of Appalachian Grit, and one of the most sincere people you might ever be lucky enough to meet. (You may remember our feature on him in April of this year.) 

If you don't know about Appalachian Grit, Jim describes his work as a "yard-to-table" business. Appalachian Grit designs, installs, and maintains biodiverse residential and commercial food gardens and landscapes. Jim is passionate about educating and equipping the community with plants that help his customer's health and well-being. Appalachian Grit also installs raised bed gardens to help customers grow their food more efficiently with less maintenance. 

Jim is also involved with a national organization called Veteran Farmer Coalition with a Tennessee chapter. Farmer Veteran Coalition Tennessee will be hosting an upcoming conference in Knoxville in November.

What is the Farmer Veteran Coalition?

We connect veterans, active-duty military, and their families in Tennessee to our state's many agriculture and veteran resources. We partner with organizations to host events and training opportunities to assist with networking, education, and connection to fellow Tennessee Farmer Veterans. I would encourage you if you are a veteran interested in getting into the field of agriculture and are stuck in the analysis paralysis phase, where you feel like you don't know what you are doing or how to get started. Please, do not let that prevent you from reaching out to us or getting started because we love to meet veterans who are in that stage of their farming journey. I've been there myself, and it can be extremely overwhelming. But you should know that here in the state of Tennessee. We are very committed to helping you in that journey, learning how to farm, connect with other farmers, and bring things to market. 

What are a few examples of the types of resources that Farmer Veteran Coalition Tennessee provides to veteran farmers?

Farmer Veteran Coalition Tennessee helps established, or prospective veteran farmers navigate through the processes of farming. We help with finding land, financing land or farms, creating a business plan, marketing strategies, crop plans, complying with food safety regulations, and networking organizations. We also help veteran farmers obtain equipment through the NRCS Equip Program and Fellowship Fund. The coalition also offers career and education consultation, workshops and webinars, legal assistance, the Homegrown by Heroes Label, government resource advising, the Farming Fellowship Fund, and a national network of allies. In addition, our organization helps to connect farmer veterans with coalition grants, coalition discounts, and farm grants for veterans. 

Can you give an example of Veteran Farmers who have benefitted from this organization in Tennessee?

Yes. Beaver Cattle Farm in Greenback, Tennessee, is an example. Deborah Beaver, who currently serves in the Army reserve, and her husband, Chris, an Army OIF veteran, raise beef cattle and hay on their farm under the Homegrown By Heroes label through Pick TN Products. In June 2017, the Beavers received a Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund award which they used to purchase a Priefert Equipment squeeze chute thanks to generous support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

Does one have to be a Veteran to be a member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition?

No. We have a variety of members from mentors, interns, students of agricultural programs, farm volunteers, supporters of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, and owners and operators of agricultural businesses.

There is a conference coming up here in Knoxville; what are these details?

The conference will take place over two days in downtown Knoxville, November 18 and 19. We will present a variety of speakers, farm tours, networking opportunities, and vendors for attendees. More information through our Facebook page -- Farmer Veteran CoalitionTennessee -- or our website.

How do people contribute to or get involved with this organization?

New members and contributions are always welcome. More information at:

Join Amy Campbell-Rochelson weekly at The Tennessee Farm Table Podcast & Broadcast for Food, Farming, and Folklore stories. Listen on your schedule by podcast at or listen in on your radio Saturday mornings at 9:00, 89.9. WDVX, Knoxville, 2:00 WUTC, Chattanooga, and Sundays at 1:00 from Radio Bristol.

  • photo by Jennie Treadway-Miller