CLEVELAND— A veteran in Northeast Ohio is returning to her roots through urban farming. 

What You Need To Know

  • Dana Atkins is a veteran who farms in Cleveland

  • She created Urbanhood Organicz to give her a new purpose after leaving the Navy

  • She farms at two locations

Dana Atkins completes chicken chores outside of her chicken coop. These are chores that are commonly known as cleaning. 

“Most animals are dirty creatures, you know," Atkins said. "They’re not OCD like us."

However, it’s a task she says she doesn’t mind completing because she loves her chickens. In fact, she says she finds her chickens hilarious.

Atkins explains that her chickens actually saved her life. Like many other veterans, she said she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving the Navy.

“Farming grounded me,” Atkins said. “You know, it really helped with a lot of issues and trauma that I was dealing with.”

Atkins said she started Urbanhood Organicz to give herself a new purpose and return to her family’s roots in farming. She added that members of her family were sharecroppers.

“I believe it’s in my genes,” she said. 

Atkins said her family farmed vegetables generations ago. Now, she said she’s following in their footsteps by also farming produce at a different location.

She said she farms at two locations for a specific reason, because she doesn't own her own land. Atkins said that she leases her land from Village Family Farms. It’s a way for her to connect with the community.

She said it’s the same community that also inspired the name for her business. 

“A lot of people in this community [and] culture, we call it 'hood,'” Atkins said. “[It’s] an urban setting, so I chose to go with Urbanhood Organicz." 

Atkins said she’s seen her community struggle to access healthy food options. As her business expands, she said she wants to change that. 

“If we eat the right food, you know, this will set us in the right direction health wise,” Atkins said.