There had always seemed to be something so profound about gardening.
Getting to get up close and personal with dirt, soil, and seeds to grow something by hand can make anyone feel pretty good about themselves.
Though it does take a little time and patience, depending on what you want to grow, watching your hard work sprout out of the soil and flower into something beautiful or delicious is definitely worth all the effort!
Gardens can also bring people together; community gardens can unite friends and neighbors while family gardens can help parents and their children create amazing memories.
It can also be used to help heal those who are hurting by giving them an opportunity to make something amazing all on their own.
This is why one Kentucky domestic violence shelter completely changed their image; by transforming into a beautiful farm!
By allowing their residents to grow their own greens, they’re giving them so many opportunities that were once taken away from them.
For years, the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program in Kentucky served as a resource for women around the world who were fleeing domestic violence.
Today, they’ve changed their name and image, though they still offer amazing resources to victims in need.
Now they are Green House 17, a 32-bed emergency shelter that is surrounded by 40 acres of beautiful Kentucky farmland.
While their residents heal from the abuse, they get to enjoy all of the fresh air and beautiful scenery.
But they also get to experience all that the farm has to offer by growing their own greenery.
“Here on our farm, survivors of intimate partner abuse heal in the fresh air while growing strong in body and mind,” the organization explains on its Etsy page.
They continue, “Our program 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.“
Paid with a stipend, residents get to grow their own vegetables to be sold to the community, and make delicious homemade meals in the shelter’s kitchen.
This allows them to gain new skills, help their community, and build up confidence through hard work.
The flowers and herbs are also made into yummy-smelling and completely natural soaps and salves.
All of the products made onsite are labeled, “Handmade by Survivors,” and 100% of the purchases proceeds go towards the program and the survivors.
With this powerful label, customers will understand the depth and meaning of the product they’re purchasing, and the importance of the organization.
Not only do the victims have a place to call home; they gain an entire community of people just like them who are living and working on the farm.
Through the fresh air, nature, and the amazing feeling that comes along with growing a garden, they can slowly build up their self worth and heal from past traumas.
Though some don’t immediately take to the idea of farm work, most find that it is so incredibly rewarding once they start getting their hands dirty.
“To work in the farm every day was a sense of accomplishment,” explains a Greenhouse 17 resident in a video on their website.
“I came out here, and I was able to let my mind go. I didn’t have to worry about the stresses that were on me. I was working… to feed the house and to help the other girls. I love helping people, and if I could help them more than myself, that was a good thing.”
They also get to grow an amazing assortment of flowers and decorate the shelter with their own arrangements.
These bouquets are also for sale, so special occasions can be beautifully decorated by residents on the farm.
Children living at the shelter are also actively involved in all the special activities on the farm.
Along with having plenty of acres of farmland to explore, they have fun and build new relationships with social activities, like movie night.
And of course, no movie night would be complete without homemade popcorn — from farm-grown corn of course.
For so long, these residents were devalued, stripped of their rights, separated from loved ones, and made to feel useless.
But this amazing haven lets them grow past the the abuse—all while enjoying the beautiful plants and friendly farm animals.
Another interesting aspect of the shelter is that its location is not kept a secret — though security measures are absolutely taken.
Rather then staying concealed, everyone at the shelter encourages the community to come visit them and get involved, making it a space for victims to engage.
Through the farm and all of its amazing amenities, these women are able to have a happy hobby while they heal from their past.
Just like the many plants, the residents are nurtured so that they can grow, bloom, and thrive.
To check out some of the items made by survivors at Greenhouse 17, be sure to browse their Etsy shop.