Why do we farm the land that surrounds our emergency shelter? This collection of Field Notes written by survivors of intimate partner abuse who are participating in our farm stipend program explains:
My first week working in the garden was hard for me on the first day, but today it was better and I realized it was relaxing in a way. Learning about different flowers is more interesting than I thought it would be, and being out there reminds me of being a kid on my grandparent’s farm. That was one of the best times of my childhood, being out there with my sister exploring and spending our days at the creek catching frogs and turtles. It was all before things in my life became complicated. So being out there brings back good memories which make it very relaxing and peaceful to me, and I’m really starting to enjoy myself. Making new friend and getting outside my comfort zone. It was a good experience all around and I look forward to returning. ~J.K.
I enjoy working in the garden; it’s a healing feeling and a learning experience. I like the people I work with, they are great. The flowers are pretty as light and the vegetables are very bright. It takes bad memories out of my mind and leaves all negative things behind the breeze. I know that I’m helping for a good reason that makes me feel better as well. ~M.S
“It takes bad memories out of my mind and leaves all negative things behind the breeze.”
Yesterday I tried something I have never done before, which was working on the farm. At first, I was nervous because it was something totally new. Everybody else had experience being on a farm. I felt like an outcast at first. The first day I worked for 3 hours and I had learned how to pick different flowers, for bouquets for wedding and other events… Well today, which is Tuesday, I learned how to pick vegetables, which were cucumbers and green beans. I also learned that there are purple green beans, and when you cook them they turn green. I also learned that items we use and throw away are used as compost for the plants. The best part about today was weeding. Pulling up all the weeds that weren’t needed. It helped me get out some anger. I learned over all don’t knock a new experience until you try it. ~J.G
My experience on the farm was better than I thought it would be. I really learned a lot. Christina and Jessica were very welcoming. It reminded me a lot of the time I spent with my Grandma as a child in her garden. Its hard work and I feel it in my back, but honestly, I have enjoyed my time up on the farm and I look forward to coming back. ~K.S
Learn more about our integration of farm-based programming with traditional services for survivors at this link.
Survivors provided permission for these Field Notes to be shared.
This article originally was published on the website of Grow Appalachia, a foundation that provides financial and technical support for our farm program.