December 20, 2022
Perhaps you’ve passed by Porter Farm on the north side of U.S. 36, about 4 miles west of Danville, Ind. It may look like just another farmstead, but it’s a unique place that offers opportunities for military veterans and the community to learn about agriculture, growing food and saving soil.
The history of Porter Farm dates to before the death of Harold Porter, who previously farmed the land. Today, a multitude of individuals and groups collaborate to use the small farm as an incubator to introduce veterans into farming, with the hope that some might learn how to grow food for local sale and start their own business. It’s also a training ground for both veterans and the community.
Key players include Steve and Kathy Stamper, who received the small farm from Porter and set up Porter Farm LLC, and Sara Creech, an Air Force veteran who operates Blue Yonder Organic Farm. Creech is also a Hendricks County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor and member of the Indiana Chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. Other key contributors include the Hendricks County SWCD, represented by Bree Ollier with the SWCD, and the Purdue University AgrAbility program, now represented on the project by Joe Ricker, a Hancock County, Ind., retired career military officer. Ricker also represents the Farmer Veteran Coalition in the project.
Project organizers have successfully sought multiple grants to bring the program together and continue seeking grants.
“In the end, though, it is about giving the veterans a place to gather, and teaching them career skills,” Steve Stamper says. “Harold Porter was a veteran, and we do this in honor of him.”
Learn more about what goes on at Porter Farm in an upcoming story on Dec. 22.
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