Archi's Acres: Homegrown vets - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Archi's Acres: Homegrown vets

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ESCONDIDO (CBS 8) - Karen Archipley has a farm in Escondido.

"We have a farm, which is a sustainable, organic farm," she said.

And on this farm, some basil grows in hydroponic rows.

"It actually gets pulled in the more it comes to the store, and then it gets put right back into the environment it was raised in," Karen said.

At Whole Foods in Encinitas, the basil still will grow. You can eat it here, plant it there, grown at Archi's Acres by folks who care, because this basil has a back story.

"When you buy this basil and you support our farm, our farm supports Veterans Sustainable Agricultural Training," Karen said. "Our training program offers a six-week training for transitioning active duty or veterans into sustainable organic agriculture as a career."

Former Marine Mike Hanes is a graduate of the VSAT program.

"I was in the most senior force recon platoon in the entire Marines at the time of the invasion of Iraq," Mike said.

He spent 8 1/2 years in the corps.

"Once I got out, I had some difficult times transitioning," he said.

By 2009, Mike was homeless, attending classes at City College and sleeping in Balboa Park. Then at an Earth Day celebration in the park, Mike stopped by the Archi's Acres booth and signed up for the VSAT program. As a result, he is now selling his own hot sauce at Whole Foods.

"It's raw, it's organic. It has superfood in there," Mike said. "I would venture to say that it's more than likely the highest integrity hot sauce on the market right now."

This warrior-turned-organic entrepreneur is waging a new battle now.

"You've got heart disease and cancer. Those are the wars we're fighting now," Mike said.

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