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Dallas-area lavender farm takes on mission to support veterans while parks are off-limits

Dallas-area lavender farm on mission to support veterans amid pandemic

AJ and Lenda Fidelman, Fields of Fidelis lavender farm
AJ and Lenda Fidelman own Fields of Fidelis. Facebook/FieldsofFidelis

Businesses in North Texas are finding creative ways to lend a hand these days, and the owners of a local lavender farm are answering the call, too. Fields of Fidelis, a veteran-owned boutique organic lavender farm in Anna, about 40 miles north of Dallas, will host a day of volunteer activities as a form of outdoor therapy for about a dozen military veterans on Sunday, May 17.

The farm is partnering with nonprofit The Warrior’s Keep, whose mission is to provide free access to outdoor activities to help veterans reintegrating into civilian life — not as easy to do right now, when access to parks and other traditional nature excursions are more restricted due to coronavirus concerns.

“We are proud to support the mission of The Warrior’s Keep,” says Fields of Fidelis co-owner Lenda Fidelman. “Our hope is to provide a safe environment during this uncertain time for our brothers and sisters in arms to socialize outdoors, reflect on their experiences, and feel a sense of camaraderie while enjoying some good barbecue, cold beer, and great music.”

At Sunday's event, former service members and volunteers will plant and harvest organic lavender during a hands-on farming learning experience. Then they will sit down to a Texas barbecue lunch, cold beer donated by McKinney-based TUPPS Brewery, and live music from Texas musical duo Kerosene Drifters. 

Fields of Fidelis also will donate $1,000 to The Warrior’s Keep organization in support of its ongoing programming for veterans. The nonprofit provides veterans with free access to outdoor activities to help cope with stress, anxiety, and depression.

To ensure proper social distancing and prepare for other COVID-19 precautions at Sunday's event, participants were pre-selected by The Warrior's Keep. But the Fields of Fidelis owners intend to hold similar events to support veterans in the future.

Army veterans and husband-and-wife team AJ and Lenda Fidelman founded Fields of Fidelis in 2016. A grant from the Farmer Veteran Coalition has helped them launch and nurture the farm, so they have always envisioned involving other veterans as a way to give back and support other former service members, they say.

As veterans themselves, the Fidelmans "understand the mental and emotional challenges active duty service members can experience when returning home — stressors that may be particularly heightened during a health pandemic," they say in a statement.   

The farm is also a family affair. The Fidelmans have two sons, Lance (age 13) and Jon Pierce (age 7), who regularly help out, too.

Fields of Fidelis specializes in varietals of lavender that thrive in North Texas and can be used for essential oils, soaps, and baking. In the fall, they will host their second annual lavender festival. Last year’s event included lavender-infused drinks, barbecue, and a hayride through the fields before the fall harvest.

Currently, the farm is open for visits by appointment only. For more information on the farm, its products, visiting, and venue availability, follow their Facebook page.