By Diane Fleet, Assistant Director

We have our first value-added products from the farm! Although production of our lip balms and soaps only took a few days, we’ve been planning and preparing for months.

Our farm stipend participants and staff experimented with recipes and made test batches for many weeks. We completed certification training, learned lessons from our community partners, benefited from the kindness of a local church for the use of their kitchen, and forged new relationships with supply providers.

We’ve made a few mistakes along the way, but that’s part of the journey. It’s been a real adventure!


What’s in a name?
We wanted our packaging for these products to highlight the connection to our mission. All of the labels proudly include the phrase “handmade by survivors,” and the names for each of the products recall the healing experience.

Our lip balm includes peppermint and lavender oils. It’s named “Reclaim Calm” because of its comforting smell and soothing vitamin e. It comes in a cute little metal tin perfect for purses and pockets. The labels for our lip balms meet state regulations that define the listing of ingredients, net weight statement, and contact information.

We have three varieties of soap. Our “Fresh Start” soap has a clean, happy scent that features lavender and lemongrass. “Sweet Harmony” goat milk soap is a creamy blend of vanilla and orange with a warm hint of cedar.  “Soothing Serenity” is also a goat milk soap with oatmeal and an earthy rosemary aroma.


Meaningful connection.
The process of value-added production has a special connection to the work that we do. Production activities add value for survivors through restorative healing, collaborative work experiences, and new skill development.

There is nothing more beautiful and affirming for our program than to see survivors take on the role of leaders, and we witness this as they facilitate production and teach new stipend participants.

Sales of our new products will add value to our organization, too. We benefit from a trauma-informed program model to address barriers faced by survivors while generating revenue to support our programming for survivors.

To market we go!
If you are interested in purchasing our products, we are currently selling them at local community events for now. Look for us at these Mayfest on May 10 and 11 at Gratz Park and Transylvania University in Lexington and the 8th Annual Lexington Peace Fair on May 17 at the BCTC Cooper Drive Campus. Stay tuned for future online sales.

We’re so fortunate and grateful for the help and guidance our Grow Appalachia family has given us during this journey. Wish us luck!