Our vision is to help train and work with the next generation of American farmers.
Veterans 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...
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.
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.”
PFA Founding Farmer
Ned King is a farmer living with his wife Corinne and their dogs, Rainy and Rocket. Ned grew up the second oldest of six 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 five 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.
Are you a veteran interested in learning more about sustainable agriculture and entrepreneurship?
Check out the courses taught at Patriot Farmers of America: