James does not come from a farming family; rather he found farming after 9 years in the Army, including 2 tours in support of OIF. James was awarded with a Purple Heart and two Bronze Star Medals, including one for Valor. “I was your typical rehab solider who found [farming] completely therapeutic, peaceful, quiet and distracting, reminding me of my childhood and overall more positive meaningful times than all that I had seen and experienced.”

James was first introduced to aquaponics and urban farming through videos posted by Growing Power. James has also attended numerous FVC retreats and has worked with FVC staff to build the groundwork for his business. James, along with his business partner and battle buddy, Steve Smith (Army), are melding aquaponics and SPIN farming techniques to create an urban farm that will feed his local community.

There are three main components of Eat the Yard urban farm: vegetable production, food scrap collection and aquaponics. The summer of 2013 will be their first year of full vegetable production, growing both specialty and non-specialty items. Through funds from the Bob Woodruff Farming Fellowship and the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, James will purchase a walk behind tractor to help them cultivate their vegetable plots. James will use the 2013 season as a trial for his aquaponics system. James is a decorated 70% combat disabled veteran, who has found solace and healing through farming.