Welcome Our New Urban Farming Staff

Memphis Tilth hires Community Garden Organizer and Community Kitchen Coordinator for Alpha Omega Veterans Services Urban Farm and Garden Project. 

Memphis Tilth began a three-year contract this February with Alpha Omega Veterans Services (AOVS) to spearhead an urban farm and garden project with veterans. To successfully complete this project, Memphis Tilth has hired a team of experts in farming, community organizing, cooking, and horticultural therapy. Alpha Omega Veterans Services Farm Manager, Chris Peterson, will be joined by Becca Hart, the project’s Community Garden Organizer, and Faron Levesque, the project’s Community Kitchen Coordinator. Together, these Memphis Tilth staff will involve AOVS veterans in horticulture therapy, increase healthy fruits and vegetables to veteran residents at AOVS facilities, engage AOVS veterans, staff, and volunteers in produce production and marketing, teach AOVS veterans how to grow food and run an urban farm, and develop an AOVS value-added product to sell.

AOVS Community Garden Organizer, Becca Hart, has ten years of farming experience spanning California, Georgia, Panama, and Tennessee. While farming in California, Becca met her husband, a former combat veteran and member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. Becca’s professional pursuits in farming and her personal relationship with her husband led her to pursue an academic career in therapy, linking the ways that farming can serve as a tool for healing and rehabilitating veterans. Becca is currently enrolled in the University of Memphis Clinic Rehabilitation Counseling program, where she studies the links between agriculture, therapy, and human development.

AOVS Community Kitchen Coordinator, Faron Levesque, has a long history of teaching paired with a passion for food. Faron recently moved back to her hometown of Memphis, where she is completing her PhD dissertation in History from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her dissertation focuses on how teachers and activists create alternative academies in order to challenge, revitalize, and reimagine education in 20th Century North America. Along with being a former member of the Underground Food Collective in Madison, WI, Faron has years of experience working in various restaurant kitchens. Faron is looking forward to growing a culinary curriculum that combines dynamic histories of struggle and food security movements with hands-on training in food literacy so that vital sites of learning like the kitchen, the garden, and the shared table might serve all of their constituents more fully, more equally. Becca Hart can be reached at becca@memphistilth.org and Faron Levesque can be reached at faron@memphistilth.org. To learn more about Alpha Omega Veterans Services, please visit alphaomegaveterans.org.

Melissa Dison