Post by Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program

Our agency recently celebrated its eighth anniversary of helping victims of domestic violence rebuild their lives as survivors. To celebrate the milestone, we created this short animated video featuring a poem about hope by Emily Dickinson.


The poem goes like this: “Hope is like a feather that perches in the soul and sings the song without the words and never stops at all.” These words really resonate when we look back on the history of our farm program. We didn’t know our farm’s song in the beginning. But the idea was there, perching in our soul.

Planning for the farm program began in 2005, soon after our organization moved from a small urban-based location to a large facility situated on a rural 40-acre property. While the move to the new property provided us with much-needed shelter space and room to grow, we faced several immediate challenges related to our new location. How will we care for the land surrounding the shelter? How were families and the community going to find us and connect with our efforts?

All around us—in community circles and national dialogues—conversations were beginning to explore topics such as whole foods, food deserts, and social entrepreneurship. We began to invite community experts to our facility to discuss how we might use the land surrounding our new shelter facility to address these social issues. Various options were explored during early dialogues: equine therapy, fields of grapes, and even a herd of sheep!

We decided the use of our land must relate closely to our purpose of helping victims of intimate partners heal from trauma and establish self-sufficiency. With this vision in mind, the decision was made to cultivate our land for agricultural production. The approach would provide a source of fresh food for family meals while encouraging physical activity and nature-based healing.

Click here for Part II of our farm story.