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Podcast: Hope is My Middle Name

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Veteran Turned Farmer Embarks on a Life-Giving Mission

Veteran Jon Turner knows a thing or two about conflict, from war and its immeasurable losses, to the internal battles we fight well after treaties are signed and troops return home.

After a traumatic brain injury ended his service in the Iraq War, Turner struggled. 

“Anyone who’s been in the service who goes into an area of conflict or extreme poverty or unfortunate circumstances that changes you. And there’s no getting around that,” Turner said. “You were going to see things. You were going to feel things. You’re going to smell things that you can never take back.”

One day, he stepped barefoot into the soil of a garden and something just clicked. 

He started a garden which grew into a farm, and today he and his wife Cathy, run Wild Roots Community Farm in Bristol, Vermont where they educate young and old alike on how to grow food from the ground up in ways that serve not only the community, but the entire planet. 

“I’ve watched men and women’s faces just change in an instant, as soon as they touch the soil as soon as they interact with an animal, and there’s no prescription that can provide that.”

On Hope is My Middle Name, Jon takes us from an ambush in Ramadi to a homestead in Vermont, where he’s found his place again in the world. Hands in the dirt and boots on the ground, Jon Turner is on a mission to build community and heal the land through regenerative agriculture. “Come to find out in healthy soil, there’s bacteria that when it’s absorbed through your pores, triggers or releases serotonin. So I was building this really wonderful kind of connection with this natural resource that’s all around us, that we also take for granted,” shared Jon.

“A lot of vets struggle with finding their purpose and knowing how to continue to serve and protect, whatever form it may take. With farming, it is mission-oriented; it’s a renewed sense of purpose. And it’s not life-taking, it’s life-giving.” 

Hosted by Kate Tucker, Hope Is My Middle Name is a podcast from Consensus Digital Media in collaboration with Reasonable Volume. We’re striking out across the country in search of hope, bringing you voices of people doing big, daring things to make the world better, even in the most challenging of times. These people give us hope, and we think they’ll give you hope too.

Follow us on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen. And please rate and review the show. We’re a brand new podcast and that small act makes a huge difference. 

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