White House honors Escondido couple for hiring vets

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Colin and Karen Archipley co-founded Archi's Acres Organic Farming Enterprise (Facebook)

ESCONDIDO, Calif. – An Escondido couple who run an organic farm were among a dozen military veterans and their families honored Wednesday as “Champions of Change” by the White House.

Colin and Karen Archipley co-founded Archi’s Acres Organic Farming Enterprise, a seven-year-old, 1-acre certified organic greenhouse operation that grows basil and kale and other things for Whole Foods.

The couple also created the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training Program in partnership with Cal Poly Pomona. Colin Archipley is a combat-decorated Marine Corps sergeant.

“We thought agriculture was a natural fit for a lot of vets — especially those in combat arms, that rifleman or whatever the case may be — where the skills don’t necessarily translate well within the private sector. We think agriculture is a good fit,” Colin Archipley said during a panel discussion.

He said the agriculture sector is growing and could help the high unemployment rate among veterans. He said his long-term goal is to become the largest agricultural employer of veterans.

Veterans need to be careful not to let go of their leadership abilities when they leave the military, because it can be applied to becoming an entrepreneur.

The Champions of Change program was created by the Obama administration as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals, businesses and organizations doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.