Among the litany of conscious-consumer labels like “certified organic” and “fair trade,” you might already be familiar with the Kentucky-specific “Homegrown by Heroes.” That logo tells you, for example, that the jar of Eastern Kentucky sorghum was produced by farmers who served in America’s armed forces.
Monday, the national Farmer Veteran Coalition adopted this marketing strategy, logo and all, from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture so that shoppers across the country can support veterans who work the land.
“Anybody can go into a market of any size and pull something off the shelf and say ‘that was grown by a military veteran, that one wasn’t. I’ll take that one, ’” Farmer Veteran Coalition executive director Michael O’Gorman said to a crowd that featured members of Kentucky's Congressional delegation, including Sen. Mitch McConnell and Louisville Rep. John Yarmuth.
State Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said that the program has tried to address the economic plight of veterans in Kentucky.
“Our unemployment rate for veterans in Kentucky is much higher than any other type of occupation," Comer said. "We’re a huge veteran state: we have two major military bases and National Guard units across the state. We need to do something to help our military veterans.”
The expansion effort will be funded by $250,000 donated by Farm Credit Mid-America and other groups.