After serving as a Military Intelligence Officer in the Army for 8 years, Brett and his wife decided to expand their garden to a farm, which is now known as Serenity Valley Farm. Brett believes that, ”[a]s a veteran farmer, [he has] the opportunity to grow instead of destroy, to nourish instead of injure.” Farming is a way for Brett to heal his wounds of war and give back to his community.

Brett grows Certified Naturally Grown vegetables and fruit trees, as well as two heads of cattle. Over the past two seasons, Brett has sold his vegetables through a small CSA and at a farm stand at the local Veterans Memorial Center.  Due to a high demand for locally raised meat products in his area, Brett plans to expand his operation to include meat rabbits and broiler hens.  The manure from both of these animals will create nutrient rich compost that can then be spread in the vegetable fields to help improve the condition of the soil.

The grant through the Farmer Veteran Coalition Fellowship Fund has allowed Brett to purchase a hoop house, which protects the animals year-round and also offers space for starting vegetable transplants. Brett was chosen for the Innovators in Agriculture grant from Newman’s Own Foundation because of his sustainable growing practices and his inclusion of a dual rabbit and broiler hen operation. Brett is not afraid of pushing the boundaries on traditional agriculture and finding best practices for his agroecosystem.