Another Harvest Dinner for Farmer Veterans

By Gary Matteson
September 23, 2015

If this year's Arcadia Harvest Dinner for Farmer Veterans were just like last year's, I probably wouldn't bother to write about it. Like last year, the food was fantastic (all the food, the chefs' cookery, and the wait staff's time was donated). Also like last year, the weather was spectacular and the setting at the Woodlawn Estate in Alexandria was unbeatable.

This year it was a sense of accomplishment that made the big difference. A substantial amount of grant money has been pledged to Arcadia's farmer veteran incubator farm effort; new land has been made available for agricultural production; farmer veterans have signed up to be in the first class; and increased attention is being paid to serving the needs of all veterans by Virginia's Governor, Terry McAuliffe. It's as if one piece of good news has led to another, and another. I look forward to doing my part to help farmer veteran training succeed right here in my community.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe

Chefs donating their time and talent to this fundraiser were: Chef Will Morris of Vermilion; Chef Kyle Bailey of Birch & Barley; Chef Haidar Karoum of Estadio/Proof/Doi Moi; Chef Danny Lee of Mandu; Chef Harper McClure of BRABO; Chef Jesse Miller of Cafe Saint-Ex/Bar Pilar; Chef Peter Smith of The Sovereign; and Chef Rob Rubba of Hazel.

"Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture is dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable food system and culture in the Washington, DC area and a collaborative space for the many local efforts and initiatives around better food."

About Gary Matteson
Gary Matteson knows agriculture first hand. Until recently he was a small farmer operating a greenhouse business in Epsom, New Hampshire. Matteson now works at the Farm Credit Council, the trade association for the nationwide Farm Credit System. He is an advocate for young, beginning, small, and minority farmer outreach programs. Matteson is responsible for spreading best practices for beginning farmer lending and training among Farm Credit Associations, generating new program ideas to benefit them. In addition to working directly with farm groups, Matteson is active in policy related to new entrants to farming. He now serves on the USDA Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers.