Boots-2-Bushels Pivots After Start of Pandemic
Maine AgrAbility’s Boots-2-Bushels program helps Maine veterans transition to a career in agriculture after returning home. Having to adjust the program during the pandemic taught Anne Devin, farmer veteran outreach coordinator for Maine AgrAbility, new lessons about resilience that she hopes to implement in the program going forward.
Boots-2-Bushels was originally set up to have 10 hands-on class sessions, followed by fieldwork on raised garden beds at the VA Togus Hospital through the growing season. When the pandemic hit, Devin transitioned to online classes. The fieldwork portion of the program was moved to her land, Chase Stream Farm in Monroe, where the students could learn the hands-on elements of farming at a safe social distance.
For the veterans who are finishing their final weeks of the program at Devin’s farm and on Zoom, the pandemic not only changed their approach to the class but their approach to their new lives.