Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program
By D.H.

This post is part of a series written by survivors of domestic violence who are participating in our farm stipend project.

This week the weather cooperated a little more and was able to get a lot done. We started off by getting the rows in the hoop house tilled and cardboard laid down and mulched.  I was able to plant four new rows of two different types of lettuce and broccoli. Although it was rainy that day, I thoroughly enjoyed getting muddy.

On Thursday, I had the pleasure (thanks to my awesome bosses) to attend a daylong conference in Berea, Kentucky. The day started off attending an organic farm.  This lady is a true pioneer in farming. In all sense, she has a hand built machine (no electronics) to sun dry her fruit, which was delicious I may add.  She showed us a wooden kitchen shack made from wooden crates and tarps.  Before she built her house, it was her house.  We saw her chicken coop, which she uses an LED light in so they will lay eggs all year long. She explained how she plants her cover crops and crops.  All are rotated every year by being planted in a different spot, which in turn yields better crops and regenerates the soil (NO tilling needed). And her soil is amazing, even in 30 degree weather. She has an outhouse which is used as fertilizer on the trees. Then we had the honor of taking our shoes off and going in her house which she built from all natural materials. Little by little it was completed and beautiful on the inside.  While listening I thought to myself “people pay good money to meet her and hear her advice, and you’re standing barefoot in her house.” Wow!

Next I was off to Berea College to their farm.  I got to see how they make their compost from scraps of food. It takes about a year to reach 140 degrees internally to be ready for use.  They have 4 huge hoop houses, all producing amazing crops. We went in their greenhouses and learned a new way to plant seeds in half the time.

Finally, my day ended on a once in a lifetime opportunity. I got to meet one of the seven most powerful women on the globe, Dr. Vandana Shiva.  She is a world renowned physicist who founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology. She founded “Navdanya” which is a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources and works closely with the United Kingdom including Prince Charles. Among her many awards, she has won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.  After hearing her amazing speech, one of my bosses and I got to meet her, shake her hand, and had our picture taken with her.  It was such an honor.  (27 February 2013)