By Natalie Grote, NFU Intern

Many veterans, upon returning home from serving our country, discover a newfound passion for farming or ranching. After putting in hours of hard work to start their operations, farmer veterans are often determined to both make a living as well as bolster their local economies by selling their homemade products, typically at a farmers markets or neighborhood stores. However, getting a foot in the door at local markets can often be challenging for these beginners, who are often competing with far more established producers.

Veteran farmers and ranchers have the opportunity to differentiate their products by registering them in a program called Homegrown by Heroes. Eligible producers receive an affixable label for their goods, indicating it was grown by an American veteran. This can provide them with an upper-hand in today’s competitive markets as well as community support to further their projects.

Product labels tend to be one of the most influential factors of a consumer’s purchasing decisions; labels that resonate with someone’s values are likely to sway their shopping habits. Locally grown products have been gaining demand and popularity in recent years, which has contributed to the success of the Homegrown by Heroes label.

Many consumers prefer to put their hard-earned dollars back into their local economies and actively look for ways to support veterans. Simply seeking and choosing products adorned with this label is an easy way for them to tell their neighbors, “Thank you for your service,” through their everyday actions.

This program is administered by the Farmer Veteran Coalition. Interested farmers can learn more and apply at their website.

Have you seen the Homegrown by Heroes label in your local grocer or supermarket? What other product labels do you think would be effective? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Like what you’ve read? Check out our Beginning Farmer Forum home page, and join the conversation in the Beginning Farmer Forum Facebook group.

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