Meet the Navy Veteran Who Teaches City Kids to Farm

(Image credit: Vice)

Kelly Carlisle, a Navy veteran, was laid off during the recession. One day she took her daughter to a plant nursery in Oakland, trying to kill time and find something fun and free to do together.

But that day in the nursery changed her life — here’s how she tells it:

I saw a tree with giant lemons dangling off of it, and I thought somebody had vandalized the tree. But when I tried to remove the lemons, it turned out that they were attached—they were real. And it was like, “Woah.” I looked at my baby girl and said, “I think this is a lemon tree!” And she’s like, “Yeah, Mom. Duh.”

So I started to think about farming, or growing things. And before I knew it, I had containers full of every kind of vegetable I could think to eat. I had garbage cans full of apple trees and cherry trees and all kinds of stuff.

This new passion grew into a larger mission: teaching at-risk kids in Oakland how to grow food for themselves through her nonprofit, Acta Non Verba.

Her whole story is inspiring — read it in her words in this piece at Vice.

Read more: I Used to Serve in the Navy and Now I Teach At-Risk Kids How to Farm by Kelly Carlisle as told to Lauren Rothman at Vice Munchies