Our vision is to help train and work with the next generation of American farmers.

They are changing the face of farming, and seeing the future of food in a new, inspiring way. 

They are setting up high tech solar powered, hydroponic greenhouses with water filtration and communication capabilities around the world with the intent of solving food inequality.

They’re growing vegetables on rooftops, in urban communities, for schools and hospitals.

They are thinking big….about business, about innovation, about health, about a better, brighter future for our veterans and all Americans.

Meet our Founding Farmers…

Meet Derek
PFA Founding Farmer

A native of Chesapeake, Virginia, Derek Riddick joined the United States Army in June 2008 as a Patriot Fire Control Enhanced Operator/Maintainer, where he traveled to South Korea, several countries in the Middle East, Japan and Israel. Derek completed an Air Defense specific course and joined an elite group of Non Commissioned Officers known as Patriot Master Gunners, and was Honorably Discharged in March 2015 at the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6). 

Derek grew up in a small, African American community about a mile down the street from his grandfather’s beautiful, personal garden that provided for his family. Derek remembers spending time as a young boy, helping “Pop Pop” in the garden, which taught him the cycle of agriculture from land preparation to harvest/freezing and canning. 

A career in agriculture just feels right to Derek. He loves wearing a suit and tie when necessary, but a good pair of work shoes and clear skies are his first choice. 

PFA is helping Derek continue his education so he can build a business of his own back home, and eventually take Pop Pop’s small farm legacy around the world.  

“Sustainable, organic agriculture has so much potential to grow nationally and internationally in the coming years. I’d be crazy to say that I do not want to be a part of a movement that is a healthier alternative for people and environmentally friendly. Most importantly, when I left the military I told myself that I would make it a priority to continue traveling the world and experiencing different cultures.”

Meet Ned
PFA Founding Farmer

Introducing Ned King, a farmer in residence with his wife Corinne and their dogs, Rainy and Rocket. Ned grew up the 2nd oldest of 6 children in West Point, Va. He joined the United States Army on 28 Dec 2009 as a 14-J Early Warning System Operator. During his 5 years in the Army, Ned served overseas in Korea and spent one deployment in the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  

Ned chose a career in agriculture through determination and luck. When his first solid job prospect fell through a month before separating from the military, Ned began researching opportunities in small businesses ownership.  He discovered the 2014 Farm Bill, which allocated new resources to veterans to begin a career in agriculture. 

Ned began imagining life on his own farm and started emailing every agency he could find for help. He discovered Patriot Farmers of America founder Kory Apton and the two immediately began mapping out ways to effectively incorporate education, employment, and hands-on training for veterans in sustainable agriculture. He and Corinne packed up, relocated to the farm, and have begun harvesting tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers as construction on the Greenhouse begins. 

PFA is supporting Ned in his pursuit of a degree in Environmental Horticulture… between harvests.

About Our Working Classroom

At Patriot Farmers of America, we teach entrepreneurship and sustainability to veterans and proud Americans who are seeking a future in farming.  We offer hands-on training, practical career-building tools, and state-of-the-art technology in the very first Helical Outpost and Training Center. This hydroponic greenhouse is the first of its kind. Its solar power, water filtration and communications capabilities enable year-round production of produce to combat food insecurity all over the world. It was inspired and designed by combat veterans.

Farming 101: An Introduction to Agriculture and Entrepreneurship

WHAT: A class offered by Patriot Farmers of America in cooperation with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, running from once a month from January through May for the cost of $45.  

WHEN: January 25th from 6-8pm. Additional classes will be offered on Feb 22, March 22, April 26 and May 24.  

WHO: Taught by Corey Childs – VCE EXTENSION AGENT, ANR, P.D.7. 

WHERE: Patriot Farmers of America – 268 Hill & Dale Lane, Berryville, VA.

This course is designed to provide tools and a decision making “matrix” to help individuals, groups or others who may be exploring the idea of joining the farming profession make sound career and business choices. This course will offer hands-on training through a curriculum that investigates core areas of farm development, including: 

  • Introduction to Whole Farm Planning
  • Land Acquisition and land tenure
  • Business management and planning
  • Marketing
  • Sustainable farming practices

Finally, the course aims to connect participants with local resources that can help them get started. Although course is formatted as a general lecture, participants will be asked to complete self-assessments and participate in-group discussions. 

Our Teaching Partners

Tips on Choosing the Best Vacuum Cleaners

Everyone would love to own a vacuum cleaner, but, without being able to make a good choice, putting money on the best product can prove elusive. Often times, functionality features vary from one product to another; thus, it is important to exercise patience when shopping.  This post helps you make the right purchase decision by putting together exceptional tips such as the following:

·    Cost

Depending on your financial potential, you can either choose to put money on vacuum cleaners valued below $200 or above. And, whether it is the best for carpets or tiled floors, finances often play an integral part in purchase decisions. Take for example Eureka Airspeed which costs less than $100, hence a perfect choice for shoppers with limited budget.

While its 12-Amp motor could be a little noisy, having a 27-inch code makes it possible to clean a reasonable amount of space in your living room. On the flipside, Roomba 650, which costs a little more than $300, would come as a perfect alternative for buyers looking for a mid-range to high-end vacuums.

·    If you are a pet lover

Pets are part of most families, but without good cleaner, handling allergens (pet hair) in your living space can be a real cause for worry.  Thus, if you keep pets, it is important to choose the best vacuum for pet hair. A good example is Black+Decker BDH2000L, but, you can also go for Dyson 59 Motor head which equally does a great job.

·    Cleaning stairway

At their advent, robotic vacuum cleaners were fancied high-end homecare devices. However, that was only until it emerged that they too had limitations. Except for a few models, not all are ideal vacuums for cleaning stairs. Moreover, with most people preferring cordless to any other construction, choosing any others such as Dyson V6 Absolute and Makita XLCO2R1W 18V will help you settle on an ideal product.

·    Build

When you go shopping, it is also advisable to weigh into the type of a vacuum cleaner. Here, you will have to contend with not only different brands and models, but also highly competitive variants. Whether you prefer a robotic to handheld or upright to quick cleaning Stick Vacuums, you should not forget to weight into functionality features before carting away your product.

The Bottom Line

With our tips on choosing ideal vacuum cleaner for your home, putting money on the best item becomes easy. Remember, product warranty equally plays significance in purchase decisions.

3 Essential Tips to Buy the Right Lawn Mower

You can get the best price on a lawn mower if you buy it at the end of September. But you’ll also find discounts around Memorial Day in May and Father’s Day in June.

What else do you need to know about getting the right lawn mower for your home? Let’s go over two more tips now.

First, the size of your property and the amount of slope has the biggest impact on your purchase. A manual reel or an electric mower is economical for small, flat yards under ¼-acre. They only require blade sharpening to stay ready for use and they are extremely inexpensive to operate.

If you need to cut wet grass or tall weeds or bag leaves, consider a gas-powered push mower with a 150cc OHV engine or better. But remember you’ll need to perform regular maintenance like oil changes and filter replacement along with blade sharpening. Are you comfortable with that, or do you have a mechanic nearby?

When you have a ¼-acre or more with hilly terrain, we recommend a self-propelled mower. It’s worth the investment although it can cost more to maintain. Most self-propelled models offer both bagging and mulching and they make mowing fun.

For level yards over an acre, you can finish the mowing in record time with a zero turn radius mower. Yes, you’ll need room in a shed or garage to store it. But ZTRs are much more maneuverable than a riding mower.

On the other hand, a riding lawn mower or tractor is often versatile enough to double as a snowplow for the driveway. And it has the power you’ll need on bumpy ground with tall grass.

Finally, details matter a lot when you need to mow each week. For example, is it straightforward to charge the battery or manage the power cord for your mower? Does the handle adjust tall enough for you?  Take into account if the mower is easy for you to maintain and comfortable to use. Features like a washout port or a blade brake clutch can save you a lot of time and effort.