Story by Mary Martin. Photos by Kirsten Chilstrom.
Something is growing in a parking lot just west of Deep Ellum. Kale, jalapeños, okra, and Armenian cucumbers are finishing out the summer season at F.A.R.M. (Farmers Assisting Returning Military), a nonprofit focused on connecting military veterans with the therapeutic and sustainable work of urban agriculture. Leading the charge are founders and veterans Stephen Smith and James Jeffers, along with executive director, Hyiat El-Jundi. The work at F.A.R.M. is deeply personal, as Stephen and James have faced the struggles associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries, and Hyiat came into the farm to table movement after a season filled with grief and substance use disorder. Together they are making it possible for Dallas-area veterans to not only find a new career in agriculture, but also find a fresh start for mind, body, and spirit.
If you are interested in learning more about F.A.R.M. or purchasing local produce and products from the online farm shop, visit farmvet.org.