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Side dish: Veggies for vets 

Sow to grow

The Washington Post just reported that the unemployment rate for veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq hovers around 12 percent. And on Monday, President Obama announced a new job-creation program for service members. So as Veterans Day approaches, work for ex-military folk is a hot topic.

It's certainly been on the mind of Buck Adams. His Veteran to Farmer (veterantofarmer.org) paid-training program teaches the battle-scarred how to grow organic vegetables. The goal of the nine-month program is to give vets enough knowledge to build their own greenhouses and start their own farming business. It also aims to help them enter a chain that supplies produce to Whole Foods stores and Front Range restaurants.

So far, two veterans have gone through the program, with two more coming in. Adams, who runs Circle Fresh Farms in Denver, hopes to get funding and government certifications that could push the total up to 12 at a time, spread out through network farms in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Brighton and Lyons.

Interested vets can call or use the e-mail submission form on the website to connect with the organization. "From there," Adams says, "we start a dialogue and kind of see what the fit is, what the timeline is, et cetera, et cetera. So we look at résumés, we look at what they want to do long-term with the program, then we try to get them into the program."

Hungry for love

Not content to merely lead hungry tourists around anymore, Samantha Bruner and Karen Kelley's Colorado Springs Food Tours have started a little something for the locals: Foodie Dates (foodiedates.com), a series of events for starving singles seeking a tingle.

"There are a lot of food-loving people here in Colorado Springs who are looking for places to meet people but don't find the bar and nightclub scenes appealing," says Bruner in a statement. (Disclosure: I attended high school with Bruner.)

Events will take place at Conscious Table (26 E. Kiowa St.), starting on Dec. 4.

À la carte

Black Fox Brewing Co. (blackfoxbrewing.com) owner and brewer John Schneider says to tentatively expect the release of his La Noche del Diablo black saison on Nov. 22. The dark-chocolate-and-cherry beer features cinnamon, cayenne and red chilies and will be available in the Bristol Brewing Co. (1647 S. Tejon St.) tasting room.

• Downtown's Mountain Brew Espresso is now Café Corto Coffee Gallery (115 E. Kiowa St., 577-4347). Ben Gallegos, who renamed the place after snapping it up, says to expect several changes "including our scholarship programs, art programs and local music/artist outreach."

  • Also: Speed dating, foodie-style

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