As a coalition, the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC)—an academic
research institution on the forefront of some of the most important research happening
across the country and the world, and the Veterans Community
(VCP)—a non-profit organization focused on ending military veteran homelessness, have
created a sustainable urban agriculture beginning farmer program with specific focus on the
military veteran population in Kansas City.
Our project has three main objectives:
(1) Recruit and retain 50 military veteran beginning farmers;
(2) Transition at least 50% of MVBF to agricultural or farm-STEM part- or
full-time employment opportunities; and
(3) Develop a veteran, urban, organic, and sustainable-focused pilot program
that can be replicated at future VCP site locations by guaranteeing a market for specialty
Our coalition will focus on supporting veterans through employment, education, and
entrepreneurship initiatives. Utilizing three, 20-foot independent model container farms at
VCP Headquarters, military veterans will be recruited, selected, and trained on container
farm processes, hydroponic systems, technological innovations for increased specialty crop
production (farm-STEM training), as well as receive financial, marketing, and
entrepreneurship certificate training. Our overarching coalition goal is establish a pathway
to economic viability and independence for America’s heroes through this pilot program.
We thank the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and
Agriculture (NIFA) (USDA, Grant No. 2021-70033-35713), the Missouri Institute for Defense &
Energy (MIDE), and the UMKC Entrepreneurship and Innovation Grant Program for their
outstanding support of this project.