02 02 VFNC groupThe Veteran’s Farm of North Carolina, Inc. will host its inaugural “Boots to Roots: A Farm Tasting” at the Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom in Hope Mills on Sunday, Sept. 20.

After receiving a National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant in May from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the VFNC began organizing the launch of the Veterans Agricultural Training and Education Program.

The VATEP is a new initiative designed to provide 60 military veterans with hands-on vocational training on a farm in the agricultural industry.

VFNC Executive Director and Marine Corps veteran Robert Elliott will launch the organizations first VATEP class this fall, in a partnership with Fayetteville Technical Community College.

"VFNC's ultimate goal is to train, network and equip veterans, allowing them to easily transition into the agricultural industry to further serve our country while experiencing a life of peace," Elliott said in a release announcing the upcoming farm tasting event.

The VFNC is striving for program sustainability through efforts such as the “Boots to Roots” series of fundraiser events.

The “Boots to Roots” events are collaborations with other veteran-owned businesses who will facilitate and host the farm-to-table tastings. The goal is to raise money to assist the VFNC with funding to support and expand its
mission.

Transitioning from the military to civilian life can be challenging. The VFNC strives to assist veterans with training and networking while equipping them with a toolbox of skills needed to transition into the agricultural industry. North Carolina is home to many veteran-owned businesses, including veteran farmers. Creating a support network between these businesses and the general public is a win-win for the local community and veterans alike.

Kicking off this VFNC series of events is veteran-owned favorite Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom, affectionately known as DBA to locals. This first “Farmer-Veteran Celebration” will be held under the DBA outdoor pavilion.

Brewmaster Vernardo “Tito” Simmons-Valenzuela will serve up signature craft beer flights paired with the small plates created by Brian Graybill, veteran owner of the DBA on-site restaurant, Napkins.

Graybill takes his inspiration for the fall-inspired tasting menu from the produce, meat, seafood and other products all grown, raised and produced on farmer-veteran farms in North Carolina.

The menu includes fall bruschetta, autumn salad, empanadas de chorizo, catfish croquetas, lamb bulgogi, beef barbacoa and bisteca con chimichurri. Ingredients for the menu are being provided by Watson Sanders Farm, Pappy’s Urban Farm, CATHIS Farm, Cedar Creek Fish Farm, Purpose Driven Family Farm, Green-Eyed Farms and Spartan Tusk & Feather Livestock.

Featured farmer-veterans will be located at various stations around the tent during the event. Each will serve attendees their featured small plate created by Napkins as attendees rotate from station to station.

Ernesto Rivas, veteran and acoustic guitar player, will provide live music. Guests will have a chance to win harvest baskets donated by local veteran artisans and business owners in a 50/50 raffle.

All staff and servers will wear masks and adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. Guests are asked to wear masks when not seated, drinking or eating.

This farm-to-table event will be split into two seatings with the first from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and the second from 7-9 p.m.

The cost is $65 per single ticket or $120 per pair, which covers food from Napkins, a flight of 5-ounce beers from DBA and live music.

No refunds will be issued, but tickets may be transferred to others. The event is open to adults, 21 years and older. DBA is located at 5435 Corporation Drive in Hope Mills.

For tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/boots-to-roots-a-farm-tasting-tickets-114750521900

Pictured: The Veteran's Farm of NC, Inc. is a farm designed and dedicated to instructing and training servicemembers on all aspects of agriculture.

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