Adam is participating in Rodale Institute's Veteran Farmer Training, a flexible 2-4 month program for veterans interested in transitioning into careers in organic agriculture. Learn more at RodaleInstitute.org/Veterans.
From Loretto, PA, Adam McDermott served in the United States Army for five years. He deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. As a member of the Corps of Engineers he operated heavy equipment and worked with Combat Engineers, demolitions experts. After ending his tour of duty in 2008, he worked as a state corrections officer for five years in Huntingdon, PA.
Post separation from the Army, Adam was diagnosed with PTSD. This trouble adjusting to society led him on a search for therapeutic outlets and later to a work share at Plowshare Produce, an Organic Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). While there, he immediately began noticing the positive effects of farming and it remained part of his routine for four seasons.
Adam then moved to Virginia to become a Union Ironworker. After a year in this industry, Adam realized he missed beneficial effects of farming. He began volunteering at Victory Farms, CSA, where he was later offered a full-time position and became their production manager.
While working there, he grew a greater understanding for organic systems but realized he desired for his own operation to try new systems and more innovative methods. Recognizing he needed more confidence to start his own operation, Adam moved from Richmond to Doylestown for Delaware Valley’s Organic Farming Certificate Program. While attending the OFCP he learned of the Veteran Farmer Training Program offered at Rodale Institute, and decided to spend his last semester wholly immersed at the institute.
The outdoor atmosphere of farming helps Adam to decompress and boosts both his mental and physical well-being. Adam has found organic farming to be a promising career with bountiful opportunities to give back to the community within his food shed and greater society at large. Adam feels that farming organically has great implications for a system that can stand the test of time and feed a population for perpetuity, regenerating the soil and producing nutritional dense food.
The valuable experience at Rodale Institute is helping him transition to a more meaningful career path and helping him remain a healthy productive member of society for the long-term. This program provides him with the opportunity to train from very knowledgeable staff. Once completing the program, Adam is returning to Richmond, VA where he will be starting his own vegetable production farm. The enterprise will be a non-profit with a mission to provide a therapeutic community for veterans to decompress, and learn about organic agriculture. An additional part of the farm will be a program in inmate outreach and education with in institutions, providing them with viable skills with which to contribute to society in a more diverse manner.