Veteran Farmers of America (VFA) and Mission Produce are hosting a barbeque fundraiser Friday, June 16 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Mission Produce packing house in Oxnard (2901 Camino Del Sol). The public is invited.
VFA helps place veterans in paid, two-week internship programs with local farms that best fit their interests. A veteran contacts VFA and VFA makes a match with a farmer. “The barbeque is an important way to raise funds to keep the program going,” says Julie Sardonia, VFA program coordinator. “The ag community has been wonderful.” More than 30 veterans have participated in VFA internships over the past year. Many have found permanent jobs within the ag industry.
Participating farms include Mission Produce, McGrath Family Farms, Limoneira Company, Underwood Farms, Rancho Del Pueblo, Windy Hill Alpaca Farm, Cal Lutheran University SEEd Garden and Vanoni Family Farm. During the internships, veterans shadow a farm manager, learn the trade of the particular farm, learn about farm equipment, the cyclical nature of farming and farm career opportunities.
“VFA’s goal is to give vets fulfilling options in agriculture once they leave the service,” says Sardonia. “Supplying food to the population is critical to our country’s overall safety and wellbeing. A career in agriculture is another way to serve.”