Feed My City
Four days after graduating from Antioch High School, and shortly after she won Miss San Francisco Bay Teen USA, Mindy Dougherty decided to join the United States Army, and was stationed first in Germany. She served as a combat field medic. While serving in Germany, she was deployed to Tazar, Hungary, then Tuzla West, Bosnia. Mindy contracted a parasite while there and became sick with both appendicitis and pancreatitis at the same time and had to be evacuated back to Germany. She had her appendix taken out then her gallbladder later when she returned to her new duty station in the MEDDAC Unit at Fort Carson, CO, where she was appointed, elected, then re-elected by her peers to represent over 5,000 soldiers. She was sent to Washington DC, serving as their voice as she strove to make a difference for current and future soldiers.
After receiving her honorable discharge and garnering a BSN from the University of Colorado at Anschutz in Denver, she was a trauma nurse and then an interventional radiology nurse who specialized in pain control, and post anesthesia care. She has since studied the ancient art of Watsu (water-based Shiatsu massage) which led to her nickname of ”Water Gypsy, shortened for wtrgpsy.” Having her work published in medical journals for the research she has done with diabetes to help veterans obtain better care in the VA Medical systems demonstrated a writing talent that would bear fruit when she wrote her memoir, Mindy’s Fight, then A Resilient Warrior, which details her health issues as well as struggles with domestic violence, sexual abuse, incest, and medical abuse at the VA Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Her writing skills have also helped Dougherty with her burgeoning acting career (watch for her in “Bridge of the Doomed: which us due out in October, 2021) and also with her latest venture- a program called Feed My City (www.feedmycity.net) that has helped many other Veterans and others deal with trauma through the restorative and sustaining practice of gardening.
What does your company do?
Feed My City helps people grow from the inside out by teaching people how to release anxiety, depression, and PTSD by gardening. Our philosophy is one seed, one plant, and one garden at a time. We can thrive as a community when we grow ourselves. By growing plants and trees in areas that flourish, [people] can sustain themselves by feeding themselves first, then giving organic fruits and vegetables to the community and food banks as well as child advocacy groups.
What promoted you to launch it?
I thought I was dying due to several things that were happening at the time, so I was filling out my five wishes and considering Hospice…. I wanted to leave a legacy behind that would help both my community and others as well. I decided [that], in order to do this, I would provide trees that would eventually help feed whoever took over and the communities that surrounded my area as well…. Feed My City…has grown internationally now, and I could not be more proud of a legacy to leave behind!
How has your military life educated and influenced your business life?
I feel the military taught me endurance and to push through things regardless of being tired, to keep my mission alive for as long as possible, and to help as many people as I can, which has become my mission in life.
What do you hope to do with your business?
I hope to expand Feed My City to many other communities and countries around the world to help millions of people and decrease mental health stigmas by teaching others to grow from the inside out. I also hope to expand to schools and other businesses that would allow for those who have both smaller and larger plots of land…to enable them to feed their communities.
What advice would you give other Veterans looking to own a business?
It is hard work! However, when it becomes your mission in life, there is nothing that can hold you back except yourself and your mindset. A positive and optimistic outlook on things can help one flourish and provide a well-balanced life for others as well. Perseverance is key. Never give up on your belief, hope, or your dreams, because they can come true when you indeed believe in the things you are doing, and promote wellness with others to flourish as well.
What is the most important thing you want people to know about Veterans?
Many of us have wounds and scars that cannot be seen. However, we are strong and have endured things that some people would never be able to in their lifetime. I want people to have less judgmental attitudes towards our Veterans, as some of us are struggling with their own personal demons that some have not been able to face yet. I believe we are strong and can endure many things with the help of our community as well. Just because one may struggle with their depression, anxiety, or PTSD from what they have endured doesn’t make us less of a human being. Let’s take the stigma away from mental health and look at it as a different way of life that needs to be addressed, and with help we can thrive and make our communities better.
Matt Robinson is a writer, editor, publisher, and content producer with over 20 years of experience. In addition to more than 5,000 editorial pieces, he has created and executed communications programs (including website copy, newsletters, biographies, press releases, development collateral, and other materials) for individuals and entities around the world. Matt also teaches writing at the college level and is a published author. His work can be seen at The Robinson Reporter