2018 Scholar: Jason Adkins
While working with homeless and addicted men on Skid Row, Los Angeles, Jason Adkins grew passionate about farming as a healing practice and therapeutic setting for men in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. After completing his B.A. in English and Religion at Trevecca Nazarene University, Jason studied Christian communities in Europe as a model for life with the poor.
Jason started a farm for men in recovery from addiction--teaching discipleship and farming together. After this, Jason worked with fatherless boys on a teaching farm in Joelton, TN. As Jason read farming books by Wendell Berry, Bill Mollison, and John Jeavons, farming moved toward the center of his vocation as he began to see farming connected to the source of the world’s problems and also to their solutions. Inspired by others, like Growing Power in Milwaukee, who are using urban farms to work for food security, health, jobs, and beauty in oppressed neighborhoods, Jason moved to South Nashville with family and friends at the invitation of some neighbors in Chestnut Hill. There they began gardening together and sharing life.
The same year, 2009, the Center for Social Justice was inaugurated at Trevecca Nazarene University. The suffering of creation at human hands is a broken relationship that needs to be reconciled. From that conviction, the environmental justice track of the social justice major was born. Jason was invited to teach the environmental justice classes and bring students alongside his work with neighbors to build gardens in schools and empty lots. This work was aimed at reconnecting people with their land and all its creatures, reconnecting people with food that brought health to their bodies, reconnecting neighbors to one another, and bringing joy.
In 2011, Jason worked with students and faculty to start a farm on Trevecca’s campus. The Trevecca Urban Farm has helped start gardens all over town and on its home turf hosts a herd of goats, pigs, bees, chickens, worm composting, mushrooms, an herb and flower garden, a vegetable garden, aquaponics systems, and a large orchard. Jason and his students have shared growing techniques with farmers in the Philippines, Swaziland, Senegal, and around the United States. He received his Permaculture Design Certificate in 2012 and has taught in four PDC courses since then. Jason is the current president of the Tennessee Organic Growers Association. Jason has a wife named Stephani and five children. Jason enjoys reading and biking to work.