Cal Poly to Host April 21 Talk on Preparing Veterans for Careers in Agriculture

April 12, 2016

Contact: Center for Sustainability

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Michael O’Gorman, executive director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, will talk about issues facing rural America and the effort to prepare veterans for careers in agriculture from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 21, in Room E27 in the Science Building (No. 52) on campus.

O’Gorman will discuss the issues that drove him to start the Farmer Veteran Coalition and the tremendous growth the organization has experienced in the last seven years. The coalition is providing leadership to a national effort to prepare members of the U.S. military for future careers in agriculture and the food system.

The event will also feature special guest Oscar Gonzales, California executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

O’Gorman has been a leading organic farmer for more than 40 years. In 1990, he began managing TKO Farms, the first organic farm in Salinas, Calif., where he pioneered the large-scale production of baby salad greens. From 1998 to 2008, he developed 1,600 acres of intensive organic vegetable, tomato and herb production in the Mexican state of Baja California for Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo. In 2008, he began the Farmer Veteran Coalition out of the back of his pickup truck.

The Farmer Veteran Coalition is now at the forefront of national efforts to connect military veterans with careers in agriculture. “I believe deeply in American agriculture and the rich reward it can give to all who take part in it,” O’Gorman said. “Sharing that opportunity with men and women coming home from war has been a wonderful and humbling experience.”

The lecture is sponsored by Cal Poly’s Center for Sustainability in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

About the Farmer Veteran Coalition

The Farmer Veteran Coalition ( is a nonprofit organization based in Davis, Calif., that aims to foster the collaboration of the farming and military communities to cultivate a new generation of farmers and food leaders and develop viable and meaningful careers for military veterans. It believes that veterans possess the unique skills and character needed to strengthen rural communities and create sustainable food systems and that, in turn, agriculture offers purpose, opportunity, and physical and psychological benefits to veterans.

About the CAFES Center for Sustainability

The Center for Sustainability ( is a cross-disciplinary initiative in Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences that is dedicated to advancing education on sustainable food and agricultural systems through curriculum, professional development and on-farm education.


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