Mushroom farm coming to Concord with veterans in mind

CONCORD, Va. (WDBJ7) A mushroom farm is coming to our area with a unique mission. Providence Veteran Farm is championing the project and while filling a need for mushrooms in the area, they will also be giving back to veterans.

“Struggles will either make you or break you,” said Lisa Kinsley an Army veteran.

Kinsley has had her fair share of struggles. She served in the army for three years and those experiences have stayed with her.
“I thought I had made enough progress on my own that I was okay....but I was still hurting,” said Kinsley.

Kinsley found healing in an unlikely place: a farm.

James McLeod is founder of the Providence Veterans Farm. It’s a program that focuses on rebooting veterans, creating a community and helping them heal. And they're launching a new project: a mushroom farm.

“Well first of all I never expected to hear veteran and fungus in the same sentence,” said McLeod. “Well, there’s a story to that.”

The story goes like this: the Providence Veteran's Farm received a grant from the Tobacco Commission to build a mushroom farm structure. Inside, they'll be growing high end culinary mushrooms.

But there is a method to the mushroom madness. The people working there will be veterans.

“When you've gone through traumas of life, being put in a strict regimented place where people don't understand what you've gone through and are going to have expectations that may be not realistic for where you are in the moment is going to add stress and compound that problem,” said McLeod.

Kinsley is hoping to work there in the future. She doesn’t know a lot about mushrooms. Like Kinsley who doesn't know a lot about mushrooms.
“I like them on my pizza,” said Kinsley.

But she is ready to learn because it's not too much about the product, but the process. A healing process.

“There are so many things that you face even when it's quiet. But having that place with the trees and the animals, it gives you a chance to be safe,” said Kinsley.