In "Lidia Celebrates America: Homegrown Heroes," Lidia Bastianich Journeys Across the Country to Farm With and Cook With Veterans

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09 December 2017
Lidia Celebrates America: Homegrown Heroes
Photo: Meredith Nierman/WGBH
"Lidia Celebrates America: Homegrown Heroes"
Friday, December 15 at 10 PM ET on PBS
(Check local listings)

         Across America, combat veterans are quietly returning to the land, digging in, and creating new lives as farmers and caretakers. This holiday season, internationally-acclaimed chef, author and food ambassador Lidia Bastianich pays tribute to the military men and women who have sacrificed so much, and continue to give back to their country.

          In LIDIA CELEBRATES AMERICA: Homegrown Heroes, an uplifting new television special co-produced with public media powerhouse WGBH, Lidia Bastianich journeys across the country—from just outside of Buffalo to rural farm areas of West Virginia to Kentucky and finally to the West Coast—to farm with and cook with veterans who have found a new way to help themselves and others on the homefront. She then pays homage to them by cooking them a Lidia-inspired meal in California, the breadbasket of America.


          A life-long believer in the power of food as the tie that binds us together, Lidia celebrates food diplomacy and supports our troops in Homegrown Heroes, a film that shares personal stories of triumph, struggle and resilience from men and women in the Armed Forces who are making the transition from the military to a new life dedicated to farming.

          For many veterans, re-entering civilian life and the workforce can be challenging due to physical limitations, emotional trauma or battle scars. Lidia visits veterans who are growing food, beekeeping, raising livestock, maple sugaring, and more. The types of farming may vary—rural farming, urban farming, micro farming, fish farming, orchard farming—but the outcomes are similar. Transitioning to this new life is therapeutic and helps them reconnect in meaningful ways with their communities.

Lidia Celebrates America: Homegrown Heroes
Courtesy of PBS
        “Food feeds our souls. It is the single great unifier across all cultures. The table offers a sanctuary and a place to come together for unity and understanding,” says Bastianich. “Returning home can be a tough adjustment for our military men and women, but LIDIA CELEBRATES AMERICA: Homegrown Heroes shows how dedicated veterans are finding food and farming to be a rewarding path back to purposeful civilian lives.”

         LIDIA CELEBRATES AMERICA: Homegrown Heroes culminates in a festive celebration with veteran farmers joining Lidia for a large family-style dinner at a picturesque vineyard in Woodside, CA, where Lidia prepares a meal of braised short ribs, stuffed tomatoes, mashed potatoes with green beans, stir-fried patty pan squash with peppers, and more. The dishes are inspired by her travels and made from ingredients gathered at a local farm.

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