From military to microgreens: Army vet transitions to small business owner

From military to microgreens
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 6:17 AM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - “I joined the Army at 18 as an infantryman,” retired Sgt. Justin Battles said “I went on to be Airborne and went to Italy for five years, stationed at the 173. I became a mechanic here at Fort Drum for my last three years and just got out last year.”

After his military career, Battles, who now owns Mountain Tough Farms, was ready for a new life growing new life. He took a leap and started his own business growing microgreens.

“So, microgreens are the stage above sprouts,” he said. “They’re super-packed with nutrition and they have antioxidants. It’s anti-cancer, good for weight loss, stuff like that.”

Battles held on to his knowledge of fitness and wellness from the military and paired it with his desire to still make a difference in his community.

“There’s a lot of people, more than you’d think, that get out of the military and go into farming,” he said. “We want to do something for ourselves that’s rewarding. Seeing the impact it has on people — I’ve had people reach out to me and want to buy broccoli because they have cancer and that’s what they want to add it to their diet for. I’ve had people tell me keep doing this. It’s great, and that feels so good to me. I find it rewarding.”

Battles currently grows a variety of microgreens.

And he’s continually improving.

“The Veteran Farmers Coalition, they certified me for the Homegrown by Heroes so that was pretty cool.”

From serving in the field to serving up the field, he plans to keep growing his business, Mountain Tough.

“I’m going to have to keep on expanding and I love that, because the more people that find out about this, the more I can help.”