After leaving the military, some veterans are unsure of what they’ll do for a career or how to provide for their family. An opportunity in agribusiness came together thanks to a partnership with the University of Minnesota Crookston and Archi’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (AISA) of California.

This new partnership between UMN Crookston and AISA helps lead people from military service to agriculture via 16 credits of courses towards a certificate in Agricultural Business. Courses are 100 percent online with UMN Crookston and can be taken through the Department of Defense’s (DoD) SkillBridge program for active-duty service members or with funds from their GI Bill. There is also an opportunity for in-person farm labs if desired, but it is not required.

“This pathway to a certificate assists with the regenerative aspects of growing and gaining the skills for building potential businesses when service people leave the military,” explained UMN Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause.

Colin in Archi Greenhouse

“It’s an opportunity (for veterans) to reinvent themselves completely,” said Archi’s Institute co-founder Karen Archipley in their promotional video. “We go from concept and a business idea to a presentation and a business plan.” 

“Farms impact local communities, the economy, our natural resources, and our climate,” added Colin Archipley, co-founder of Archi’s Institute. “Veterans have a much higher rate of becoming self-employed than the general public does. I think a lot of that has to do with the leadership training you get in the military. Those skills are very applicable to becoming an entrepreneur.”

AISA has trained transitioning military service members, as well as the general public, to be successful entrepreneurs in the sustainable agricultural industry. Since 2007, more than 550 graduates have learned sustainable methods of growing organic produce to feed the nation. Graduates include successful farm owners and workers, soil-testing pioneers, restaurateurs, and owners of food companies. AISA also assists with the job placement and business creation after graduation.

“After 10 years in Army Infantry, my dream was centered in family, community, and sustainability,” AISA graduate Seth Anderson states. “After attending Archi’s Institute, I am now in my sixth year of growing sustainably and organically centered market garden, helped develop the first community garden in our town, and now launched an agricultural co-op.”

Archi Institute signing with Chancellor Holz-Clause

Interested in the program?

There are eight cohorts throughout the year with six 6-week day classes and two 12-week night classes. The next set of classes begin January 2023. Online registration is available at Courses will include Sustainable Agriculture, Introduction to Agribusiness, Professional Agriselling, Fundamentals of Value-Added Agriculture, Special Topics Hydroponics, and Rural Economic Development Practicum.

Story Contact: Jess Bengtson - - (218) 281-8432