When Cpl. Adrian Burrell leaves the service this year, he plans to go back home and open “Swagwich”—an organic mobile food truck.
“I’ve always wanted to have my own business,” he said. “This is something that’s within reach.”
Burrell graduated from Archi’s Acres’, a six-week Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training program at an Escondido farm, last month. The program teaches active-duty service members and veterans about organic farming and agriculture business.
“If I wanted to, I could go out and start my own hydroponic farm,” the Marine said. but instead he plans to open a business that will use as many products from other VSAT graduates as well.
As a final exam, participants presented business plans at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to local buyers as well as business and military leaders, including marketing executive Robert Black, who was impressed by how thorough the presentations were.
“They all have to have a little Steve Jobs in them and know their company,” he said.
And the timing is right to succeed by selling organic food, he said.
“The whole culture is trending that way,” he said. “People want to take care of themselves.”
Burrell looks forward to working with other veterans and believes service members should have more opportunities to take part in transition programs.
“A lot of Marines are scared,” he said. “They want to start a new chapter in their lives and they don’t know how.”
Army and Marine Corps units are set to absorb the most losses as the Department of Defense reduces forces, but the Navy and Air Force are set to shed members from their ranks as well, Bloomberg News reports.
In addition, veteran unemployment locally is 11.5 percent—2.5 percent higher than the national average—10 News reports.
Local veterans groups are bracing themselves for the expected demand for services, and have launched other types of veterans transition programs in response.
“Military personnel make good citizens,” he said. “So why not help us?”
Read how to get involved in the program on the Archi’s Acres VSAT home page.
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