By Jessica Ballard
GreenHouse17, formerly Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program

Brrrr!!!!! It’s January, snow is falling, schools are closed, ground is frozen…everything is chillin’, right?

Not here at GreenHouse 17.

We are keeping busy with mapping out gardens, ordering seeds, writing grant proposals, planning wedding flowers and developing value-added products to be produced in our new commercial kitchen!  So much to do, but we are thankful that the earth is giving us a break from our many farm chores to strategize for the coming season.

In the coming year we will begin producing our own line of lip balms, salves, soaps and sprays with recipes that were developed by clients and staff using our own home-grown ingredients.  Many of these new products were created in our ongoing make it/take it classes with clients and staff.  In each of these classes, participants learn how to make a value-added product such as jam, lip balm, salsa, salve, bath salts, hair oil and scented sprays.  Everyone makes their own product and can take it with them when they leave.

This has been a really fun opportunity to play around with herbs, produce and beeswax from the farm in a creative and educational way.  These classes have traditionally been a pretty big hit around here and now we have been given the opportunity to begin to market some of these products and make them here in our very own commercial kitchen!  This is such an exciting opportunity for us and this winter we are having so much fun brainstorming with clients, staff and community to perfect our own special products.

And so, it’s winter and there are many exciting things happening around here and I can dream big right now, right?

Let me share my dream with you…

My dream is that GreenHouse17can create a successful line of natural, artisan, self-care products together with the women and families we serve, and that the manufacturing of these products can then create job skills training and economic empowerment opportunities for survivors. I want to market our flowers for weddings, restaurants, churches, and community events as a celebration of beauty, faith, and love that represent our commitment to raising awareness about these social issues that affect our communities and our families.  I want to help create opportunities for our clients, should they choose it, to develop their own micro-enterprises and support them throughout the process.  I believe that the development of these enterprises within our program and with the clients we serve, directly supports our mission, our advocacy and our dedication to healing through empowerment, nature, creativity, and social enterprise.

And I believe…

We are making this dream a reality!