Military Obesity Transitions to Small Business Owners

WATERTOWN, NY (WWNY) – “I joined the Army as an infantryman when I was 18,” retired Sgt. Justin Battles said, “I went on to be an Airborne and went to Italy for five years, stationed at 173. I spent my last three years at Fort Drum as a mechanic before leaving last year.”

After his military career is over, Battles, now with Mountain Tough Farms, is ready to start a new life. He took a big step and started his own microgreens growing business.

“So, microgreens are the stage above the sprouts,” he said. “They’re nutrient-dense, and they’ve got antioxidants. It fights cancer, it helps with weight loss, stuff like that.”

Combat allowed him to combine the fitness and health knowledge he gained from the military with his still desire to make a difference in his community.

“There are a lot of people, more than you can imagine, leaving the military to work in agriculture,” he said. “We wanted to do something good for ourselves. Seeing the impact it had on people — someone contacted me and wanted to buy broccoli because they had cancer and that’s why they wanted to add it to their diet. Someone Tell me to keep doing it. It’s great, it feels good to me. I feel rewarded.”

Battles currently grows a variety of microgreens.

And he’s still improving.

“Veteran Farmers Union, they gave me the Homegrown by Heroes certification, which is great.”

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

“I’m going to have to keep expanding, which I like because the more people who know about it, the more I can help.”

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