Hear the conversation 9:16 – 5.3 mb mp3
Adam Ingrao is a doctoral student in the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University, an Army veteran, and also a national leader in connecting veterans like himself to careers in agriculture.
Ingrao tells Kirk Heinze on Greening of the Great Lakes about his passion for educating veterans about agricultural careers. Most veterans, much like the general public, have very little understanding of the agricultural enterprise.
Ingrao founded and directs the Michigan Food and Farming Systems Veterans in Agriculture Network and has founded the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Michigan and the Heroes to Hives program, beekeeping education at Bee Wise Farms, LLC—which is linked to the Michigan Pollinator Initiative.
“I found healing for myself through agriculture” says Ingrao in describing his own battle with being a disabled veteran at age 25. He says it was his parents who first got him outside to experience some of nature’s healing powers. “That’s really shaped my life from that point on.
“I wanted to develop a statewide network for veterans to understand the value of agriculture as a potential career opportunity. We really try to find all of the resources and educational opportunities available to veterans in the state and then connect individual veterans with those resources.”
Ingrao says veterans already possess many of the skills and sense of duty necessary to be good farmers, but many just aren’t exposed to it.
“And that healing component is something that really speaks to veterans. A lot of veterans love being outside and interacting with nature.”