Rachel Mims provides therapy to others as a professional counselor and experiences first-hand the therapeutic benefits of farming. “I enjoy spending time in nature and learning how plants work,” the Army veteran said. “I also appreciate having fresh food available to me year-round.”
Rachel is a licensed professional counselor and board-certified art therapist. She worked at the Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network’s Veteran’s One Stop in Waco for the last five years in addition to having a part-time private practice.
The Arlington, Texas native joined the Army after two years at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. She spent the next 10½ years on active duty as a Patriot missile operator/maintainer. She left the Army in 2012, heading to Florida State University, where she earned a master’s degree in art therapy.
Rachel returned to Texas in 2014 but wasn’t finding any jobs within the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. She was, however, offered a full-time position at Texas State Technical College and moved to Waco. She later chose to move about a half-hour north of Waco to Hillsboro, a city of 8,300. The move allowed her to continue working in Waco but also to be closer to her parents, Steve and Janie Mims, in Arlington.
It also provided her the opportunity to begin farming. “I started horticulture therapy training in 2017 and that is really what sparked my interest in farming,” she said. “I loved how growing plants and taking care of the earth could be therapeutic. I started ARTillery Avenue Farm to help connect people to food, nature, and the arts.”
Through her ARTillery Avenue Farm in Hillsboro, Texas, Rachel primarily sells honey from her honeybee hives. She also produces fruit, vegetable and eggs on her farm.“I wanted a name that spoke to veterans but also conveyed my passion for art,” she said. “I chose ARTillery because I was Air Defense Artillery in the Army but capitalized the ART to emphasize the creative aspect.”
Rachel said her parents are a big help with the farm. “Without their assistance, I would not be as far along as I am now,” she said. “They come to help me with projects all the time. I work full time, so farming happens in the ‘off’ hours.”
Rachel attends farmers markets to help sell her products and says having the Homegrown By Heroes label displayed there helps draw customers. “The Homegrown by Heroes label is on my farm banner, which hangs on my market stall,” she said. “This is something that grabs the attention of customers and often people come talk to me because they see it.”
For more about ARTillery Avenue Farm, go to her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ARTilleryAveFarm.