Starting in April, the Mountain Home VA Medical Center in Johnson City, Tennessee has hosted a farmers market for patients and the community. The market is so popular that instead of closing for the season, it is now in the main atrium year round.

Every Thursday at 1 p.m., the smell of roasted nuts, banana bread, and popcorn fills the hospital’s main entrance. The growing market is also very popular with VA employees, who are eager to support local and Veteran businesses.

Veteran vendor

Donald Schaffer, a U.S. Army Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran, started as one of the first market vendors.

Farmers Market

U.S. Army Veteran Donald Schaffer of Riverview Farmer and Gardens is a Veteran vendor at Mountain Home VA’s Farmers Market.

“As soon as we heard about it, we were the first applicants,” Schaffer said. “We wanted to give back to Veterans.”

Schaffer and his girlfriend operate Riverview Farm and Gardens, and is a member of Homegrown by Heroes, a program maintained by the Farmer Veteran Coalition.

Since joining Mountain Home’s farmers market, Schaffer has enrolled into VA health care and recommends farming to other Veterans.

“Planting, growing, taking care of your crops keeps you busy,” Schaffer added.  “It keeps your mind and body active and healthy.”

The farmers market provides an easy to access place to buy local foods. It also is a place to educate Veterans on VA services.

“Most people go to hospitals because they have to, but we wanted to give Veterans something to look forward to when visiting,” said Bob Collett, Mountain Home’s Veterans Experience Officer. “Farmers Markets, Red Coat Ambassadors at the front door, valet parking, rock gardens, parking shuttles – these are all programs to provide a world class Veterans Experience at Mountain Home.”

During the market, VA provides cooking demonstrations, healthy eating habits, nutritional advice, and other services. Each week, more and more Veterans, their families, caregivers, and community members attend the market to support their local and Veteran farmers.

To find a farmers market close to you, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Local Food Directories: National Farmers Market Directory

The American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver program offers peer support and a resource library.American Red Cross Military & Veteran Caregiver Network offers peer support and robust resource library
Fargo National Cemetery grand opening September 7, 2019.Fargo VA National Cemetery now open

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12 Comments

  1. John A. Kramer September 30, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    There is an extensive and historic Farmers’ Market on the West side of Cleveland…called “West Side Market”.

  2. Frank Adams September 21, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    Denver could use one, Farmers Market
    Frank

  3. R Allen September 19, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Johnson City,Tn.

  4. Wayne September 19, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    Please provide useable links or edit your article to remove how to fond local farmer markets. The links are like a dog chasing its tail. I was wanting to share this article, but I’m not due to the bad links. Thank you.

  5. D Lynch September 19, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Need a farmer market in the Leesburg/Wildwood area.

  6. robert smith September 19, 2019 at 10:55 am

    also a mountain home in south idaho.

  7. Bob gerry September 19, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Where are they?

  8. IRVIN NOWICKI September 19, 2019 at 9:13 am

    STILL CANNOT FIND A DIRECTORY THAT I CAN SUBMIT MY INFO AND GET A LISTING OF FARMERS MARKETS IN OR CLOSE TO ME ALL I FIND IS A BUNCH OF BRAGGING AND PATTIMG YOUR SELF ON YOUR BACKSIDE

  9. WertJanice September 16, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    When giving the money to the programs and not the Veteran that money is eat up paying their employees and classes which doesn’t help! A Veteran farmer sets in class,goes home with papers and numbers now was that worth 1.3 million? No! Classes dont help jack!

  10. carl ralph daily September 16, 2019 at 10:18 am

    where is mountain home located?
    thanks , carl

    • Sammy September 19, 2019 at 7:36 am

      in north central Arkansas. i nice town.

      • R Allen September 19, 2019 at 3:32 pm

        Johnson City,Tn.

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