492: Christopher Peterson on Urban Farming with Vets.
Working with military vets to share urban farming skills.
In This Podcast:
AVOS Urban Farm is much more than CSA and Farmers Market produce. The farm is home to veterans, and Christopher Peterson discusses the immense benefits for the veterans who work and walk through the farm. This unique model has its challenges, and he shares how they planned a regenerative, ADA accessible space that produces food, but also acts as landscaping for the on-site residents. Listen in to learn about this unique approach to helping our veterans and the surrounding community!
Christopher works as the Farm Manager at AOVS Urban Farm, a 2-acre Urban Farm and Gardens in South Memphis serving economically disadvantaged veterans who have suffered from physical and/or mental health conditions. Prior to this position, he ran Loch Holland Farm, a small, sustainable livestock farm focusing on multi-species rotational grazing and has worked on several other small, sustainable farms in the Memphis area.
Christopher also previously served as Executive Director for GrowMemphis (now a program of Memphis Tilth) and has consulted on various other Mid-south food initiatives. In addition to food work, he holds an MA in Human Value and Global Ethics and continues to teach locally as an adjunct professor in Philosophy and Anthropology.
Listen in and learn about:
- How examining social justice issues in college led him to gardening
- AOVS Farms and how they help on-site Veterans living on the farm and their community
- The challenges and benefits of working with veterans
- Making an accessible farming environment that accommodates physical disabilities
- How gardening benefits mental and emotional well being
- Setting up a regenerative system that is visually appealing to those living around the farm
- Some of the key veterans who form the core farm team
- Designing an ADA accessible farm that provides food that the residents and Farmers Markets both want
- How the residents who live on the farm engage in different ways with the project
- The shift in the amount of people who are interested in growing their own food
- How to help the Alpha Omega Veteran Urban Farm
As well as:
His failure – Not following all the basic farming advice. Find land that has infrastructure and don’t take the first opportunity you come upon.
His success – Making his current farm place where people can fail comfortably.
His drive – There is hope in sustainable farming, and seeing the transformation they are creating.
His advice – The only thing we know is nothing, embrace what you don’t know and learn about it.
Christopher’s Book recommendations*:
The Mad Farmer Poems by Wendell Berry
How to reach Christopher:
Instagram: AOVS Urban Farm and Kitchen
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