There are more military veterans in the South than any other part of the United States. This region has also been losing farmers at an astonishing rate. Those two things sound disconnected? Not if two brothers in Kentucky have any say about it.

This is the story of two soldiers who found their way into farming after war. But it’s also the story of two brothers whose experience in uniform and in the fields has been very different from one another. Producer Alix Blair takes us to rural Kentucky to learn what agriculture holds for men who’ve been soldiers.

A house on Fred Lewis' farm.
A house on Fred Lewis’ farm.

The labeling program Mike helped get started, Homegrown By Heroes, is here.

The documentary film Alix Blair has been working on about a different veteran farmer is here.

You might also want to check out the Farmer Veteran Coalition and the American Horticultural Therapy Association.

And here are some academic resources (for those of you who favor books to links):

“I’ll Take My Farm: The GI Bill, Agriculture and Veterans in North Carolina,” Adrienne Petty, Journal of Peasant Studies Volume 35, Issue 4, 2008

Standing Their Ground: Small Farmers in North Carolina Since the Civil War, By Adrienne Monteith Petty; Chapter 6: From Foxholes to Farms

NOTE: The photo of Mike Lewis above is courtesy of