A new national labeling initiative seeks to boost sales of agricultural products from current and former members of the U.S. armed forces by showing retailers and consumers which foods are Homegrown By Heroes.
The Homegrown By Heroes labeling launch in mid-May by the Davis, Calif.-based Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) is based on a program initiated in Kentucky in 2013, according to a news release on the FVC website.
Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner James Comer said he and other state officials had hoped the program would go national from the beginning. Nationwide interest was immediate and by Veterans Day 2013 Comer was able to announce that hope had become a reality.
Homegrown By Heroes labels will be showing up on everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to maple syrup and poultry as military veterans across the country enroll in the program.
“Farming and military service are more closely linked that one might think. Thousands of our service men and women leave the rural communities and farms they call home in order to serve our country in the military. Upon completion of their service, they often return home to resume work on the family farm,” Michael O’Gorman, executive director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, said in the release.
To qualify for the Homegrown By Heroes label, a grower must have served honorably or still be serving in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and be at least a 50% owner or operator of the farm business that is applying to use the label.
Farm Credit, a network of farmer-owned agricultural lenders, supported the national launch of the Homegrown By Heroes labeling initiative with a $250,000 donation. the American Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union also support the project.