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Rancho Cordova Independent

SAFE Grants Support 'Farm to Wellness' Program for Veterans

Jun 02, 2023 12:00AM ● By SAFE Credit Union News Release

An aerial view of Soil Born Farms in Rancho Cordova. Photo courtesy of SAFE Credit Union

SAFE Grants Support 'Farm to Wellness' Program for Veterans [2 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - SAFE Credit Union is proud to once again support the creators of “farm to wellness” programs exclusively offered to veterans in the Sacramento region.

The credit union is awarding a $10,000 grant to Rancho Cordova-based Soil Born Farms – providers of job training and therapeutic experiences for veterans at its 55-acre American River Ranch farm.

“Sacramento is rich in agricultural history and farm to fork practices. Our foundation at SAFE is rooted in supporting our military and veterans,” says SAFE President and CEO Faye Nabhani. “It is amazing and rewarding for us to be able to substantively support both of these efforts with this grant.”

SAFE annually awards Community Sustainability Grant Program grants to two nonprofits dedicated to impacting the lives of veterans in area communities. The credit union opened in 1940 as the Sacramento Air Depot Federal Credit Union, initially serving members of the military and their families.

The grant marks the second time the credit union has backed the veterans program and farm that fosters connections among food, health and the environment. SAFE is also awarding $20,000 to Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada for its program assisting homeless veterans.

Soil Born Farms Founder and Co-Director Shawn Harrison says the organization plans to use the funding to provide support for two veterans enrolled in the farm’s Veteran Apprentice Program and to expand the organization’s Veteran Field Days, where veterans are immersed in agricultural practices for the day.

Harrison says the grant from SAFE allows the nonprofit to conduct slower and more thoughtful programming with local veterans.

“The funding from SAFE Credit Union allows us to create a more gradual immersion into the farm experience for a diversity of veterans who may have little to no previous exposure to sustainable agriculture,” says Harrison. “This will pay long-term dividends both for the health and wellbeing for our veterans, as well as improved food security for our community. If we can gain traction with this program, volunteer veteran farmers and gardeners will increasingly assist our team in producing more nutritious food for people in our community.”

Army veteran and Rancho Cordova resident Bryce Wilson, who served as a radio communications specialist from 2007-12, including two combat tours and one overseas training exercise with the Royal Thai Armed Forces, completed Soil Born Farm’s apprenticeship program and now works there as a farmer.

“The apprenticeship program allowed me to rediscover the potential I had as a person, that I was more than a soldier,” says Wilson who handles orchard maintenance and fruit production.

“It allowed me to grow as an individual and helped me to reintegrate back into the community.”

The farm – which grows a diversity of vegetable, herbs, flowers, and tree fruit – also educates youth and adults about how to curate Sacramento’s local food system while encouraging healthy lifestyles and nurturing the environment. Read more about Soil Born Farm's educational programs and marketplace here or at https://soilborn.org/feed-people/online-marketplace/.

SAFE annually awards up to $120,000 in grants in four phases focusing on its three pillars of philanthropy: veterans, healthcare, and education. Click here, or https://www.safecu.org/community/community-impact/funding, for more information on SAFE Credit Union’s grants program

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