SPOKANE — Veterans learning to farm through a Spokane Conservation District effort now have a refrigerated truck so they can deliver their produce to customers.
The Spokane Conservation District Vets on the Farm recently purchased a used 1995 Ford F-800 for $8,000.
The Northwest Golfers for Warriors/Dan Kleckner Golf Tournament provided part of the funding, as did Northwest Farm Credit Services.
The veterans run a farmstand Wednesdays and Saturdays on their 3 acres.
Several companies made a special request, asking, "Can you bring the farm to us?"
The veterans now take produce in the van to those locations.
"It was so successful we decided we could really make something out of this," district director Vicki Carter said.
They also supply produce to several restaurants and a small grocery store.
Vets on the Farm has more than 200 participants and continues to grow. Two interns are sponsored by the Washington Department of Veteran Affairs.
They are also beginning a "custom growing" program, working with specific customers, such as restaurants.
"We say, 'This plot is yours. What would you like us to grow for you?'" Carter said. "So chefs get to decide what it is they want."
The biggest need now is a replacement for its ATV used to haul items on the farm. Cost is typically $10,000 to $15,000, Carter said.
The farm hopes to begin an orchard for stone fruit and nuts.
The district would like to provide more mentoring opportunities, both in Spokane County across the state. Carter was involved in the launch of the state Farmer Veteran Coalition and recently became a national director for the National Farmer Veteran Coalition.