US (MO): Urban farm cultivates support system for veterans

Crystal Wiggins has been out of the U.S. Air Force for seven years, but the passage of time doesn’t make her feel any less devoted to service. “I think I’ll be serving the military my whole life,” Wiggins said.

Her commitment to serving others led Wiggins into her current role as the veterans program manager at the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture’s Veterans Urban Farm. “We all have something in common, which is we wanna help veterans, and we love veterans, and some of us are veterans,” said Wiggins.

Serving veterans after service
From offering occupational therapy to fresh produce, the farm serves veterans across mid-Missouri. “There’s a level of understanding that we can offer to veterans when they come here,” said Dustin Cook, a veteran and health and wellness coach for the Truman VA Whole Health Program.

CCUA established the Veterans Urban Farm in 2020 as a partnership with Truman VA. “Our partnership is a very unique one,” said Heather Brown, the strategic partnership officer for Truman VA. “One that’s actually looking at being replicated nationally.”


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