Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program

AjaMy name is Aja Croteau, and I’m from Winchester, KY. I go to Berea College in Berea, KY and I intend to major in Agriculture and Natural Resources and minor in Sustainability and Environmental Studies. I came to the BDVP Farm through Grow Appalachia, an organization that supports sustainable agriculture practices in Appalachia and the surrounding area. I’m volunteering here at the farm to fulfill my Summer of Service for the Bonner Scholars Program at Berea College, which is a program that engages students to learn through community service. I’m also volunteering at a community garden in Lexington to try and learn as much about growing food as I can, both in and out of a classroom. I don’t have much experience with farming, but I’m eager to learn how to go everything from growing food to preserving and preparing it. I’m super excited to be working here this summer and can’t wait to get started.

Laura –I feel so fortunate to be working with the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program and connecting the residents with the powerful nature of gardening and farming. I will be interning here on the farm through September on behalf of the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture and hope that this time will allow me to not only develop and hone my own farming skills, but also to empower women who have been victims of domestic partner violence through agrarian therapy. This empowerment stems not only from the development of self-sufficiency skills, but also from demonstrating how the garden is a unique setting for healing and restoration. I hope to facilitate a positive change in attitudes about immersing oneself in nature and also validate how women can make a monumental impact in the world of agriculture both now and in the future. I hope this position will allow me to plant a foundation for hope in the lives of these women by providing their families with naturally grown food and the ability to integrate themselves back into the community with new and reliable skill sets. “The only way to build hope is through the earth.” – Vandana Shiva