The farm situated on the 40-acre rural property surrounding our emergency shelter offers the opportunity for survivors to heal in the fresh air while growing strong in body and mind.
Eating food fresh from the garden models good nutrition and healthy eating habits for parents and kids, and adult survivors may choose to help on the farm in exchange for a weekly stipend. Harvesting produce and flowers and making value-added products from the farm provides survivors with recent work history and new skills as they strive to rebuild their lives after abuse.
Our vision is for the farm to become an economically self-sustaining program that provides a reliable source of revenue for our agency while offering living wage employment and micro-enterprise opportunities for survivors.
Programming is supported by research related to trauma-informed care for women veterans, studies exploring the restorative and healing outcomes of therapeutic gardens, and examinations of “social farming” as a means to promote healing, social inclusion, education, and social services in rural areas. VAW.net — a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence — explores how therapeutic horticulture helps meet the complex needs of domestic violence survivors and their children in this article.
The integration of farm programming with traditional services for survivors has received several national awards:
- Purple Ribbon Award for Program/Shelter of the Year (DomesticShelters.org)
- Celebrating Solutions Award (Mary Byron Project)
- Pyramid Award for Social Innovation (Center for Nonprofit Excellence)
- Innovative Nonprofit Award (Kentucky Nonprofit Network)
The University of Kentucky Center for Research on Violence Against Women (CRVAW), with funding provided by the Department of Justice, recently completed a multiyear research project to determine the effectiveness of our farm-based programming. Report on the results of this research is forthcoming.