Homegrown Heroes

Freedom doesn’t come by itself or stay by itself; it’s guarded.
And it’s guarded by the veterans that are willing to give their life…
to protect that freedom. For me that’s a great gift.
~ Lidia Bastianich

Premiered December 15 on PBS.

check local listings

Across America, veterans are quietly returning to the land, digging in, and creating new lives as farmers and caretakers, feeding themselves and others. In Lidia Celebrates America: Homegrown Heroes, Lidia pays homage to the men and women of our military and all they’ve sacrificed for this country. The film focuses on our veterans’ return home and their transitions to farming. Lidia is a firm believer that food feeds our souls: “Food is the single great unifier across all cultures. The table offers a sanctuary and a place to come together for unity and understanding.”

Meet Our Homegrown Heroes

Mark,Denise Prom

Mark and Denise Beyers

Mark and Denise Beyers were high school sweethearts. Video & More

Kelly Carlisle

Kelly Carlisle

Kelly Carlisle joined the US Navy to get out of East Oakland, California, a neighborhood she describes as both poor and tough. Video & More

Nate & Edgar

Nate Looney & Edgar Hercila

Nate and Edgar use hydroponic and aquaponics technologies, a totally sustainable type of gardening.
Video & More

Jon Darling

Jon Darling

On the morning of September 11, 2001, like most Americans, Jon Darling’s life changed. Video & More

Alvina Maynard

Alvina Maynard

Alvina Maynard says living in the countryside is part of her soul.
Video & More

Calvin Riggleman

Calvin Riggleman

Growing up, Calvin Riggleman’s dream was to be a marine. Video & More

The Farmer Veteran Coalition

The Farmer Veteran Coalition is a group that helps veterans transition to farming. Matt Smiley trains new veteran farmers on Jacob’s Farm in California – an 8 acre farm that is growing tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, bell peppers, and sweet corn.

A former paratrooper and disabled veteran, Matt Smiley believes soldiers are uniquely suited to the life of a farmer. Click on Matt’s bio to learn why. Video & More

Matt Smiley

Explore Resources for Veterans


Go Behind the Scenes

Lidia at Jacob's Farm

Slideshows: Go behind the scenes with Lidia, and view slideshows of some of the people and places she visited while filming Homegrown Heroes!


A Celebratory Meal

Join Lidia as she toasts the veterans at the Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside, California.


Additional PBS Resources for Veterans

Stories of Service Logo

Veterans Coming Home Logo

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