We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Mims and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rachel, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
One thing people do not know about farming/agriculture is that there can be a lot of mental health issues in this community. This field is very stressful because there are a lot of unknown and uncontrollable factors that farmers and ranchers deal with. For instance, we cannot control the weather and that plays a big part in how well our crops do. We also cannot control the price we are going to be able to get for our products because it is controlled by the market. Additionally, farming and ranching is a job that never stops. No matter how much we do, there is always more to be done. The hours are long and the job is very physical. This can result in being sleep deprived which can also result in making poor decisions or being unsafe. Farming and ranching is already a dangerous job where injuries can be fatal, so anything that compromises safety is bad.

On top of all that, farmers and ranchers are often rural which means they are likely in an area that does not offer many, if any, options for mental health care. There is also a lot of stigma around mental health in small communities which may make farmers and ranchers hesitant to seek care. Even if someone overcomes these barriers, they will likely have difficulty keeping a therapy appointment because of their schedule being inconsistent (we can’t control when animals get sick, etc.). Lastly, many individuals in the agriculture field do not have insurance that will cover mental health services, that is if they have insurance at all!

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Before I was a farmer, I was (and still am!) an art therapist and licensed professional counselor. I have a passion for helping others heal via creative and nontraditional methods. I realized that gardening was helping me destress and so I sought out training in horticulture therapy. What makes ARTillery Avenue Farm different from other farms, is that it is a teaching and therapeutic farm. The farm’s mission is to inspire healthier lives by connecting people to the food, nature and the arts. This is a place where people can come and learn about farming/gardening, beekeeping, art making, and using nature for therapeutic purposes. The farm currently offers therapeutic art workshops and in the future (post COVID) will offer on-site therapy opportunities as well. I want people to know that there is not just one way to heal from the stresses of everyday life. There are many different ways to improve your life and at the farm, I want to provide people the chance to learn about them.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend were visiting, I would take her to the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco; we love going to zoos and the Cameron Park Zoo is a good one! We would also likely take a hike in Cameron Park. Since we are foodies, we would probably eat at several different locations in Waco. I have family in Arlington, so we would probably go visit them too and take advantage of all that DFW has to offer.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are a lot of people that have helped me in my farming journey. First and foremost, my mom and dad. They are always out at the farm helping me with projects. There is no way the farm would be as far along as it is today without their help.

Another person was my beginning farmer mentor, Aime Sommerfeld-Lilliard. She not only provided me with guidance and information, but she helped me get some very important training as well!

Lastly, I want to thank the Battle Ground to Breaking Ground Program. This is where I first learned about the business side of farming. I also learned about different programs that were available to me as a beginning farmer. Without these wonderful people and the information I learned in this program, I would not be living at my farm right now!

Website: https://artilleryavefarm.square.site/

Instagram: instagram.com/artilleryavegarm

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/artillery-avenue-farm/

Twitter: twitter.com/mimsrachel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ARTilleryAveFarm

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