The following reflections were written by a survivor participating in our farm stipend program this summer:

Day 1

Sitting here in the garden, unsure of what to expect. I am excited and amazed at the beauty and magnitude. I love looking at the beauty of the flowers and I am enjoying my time here. It is helping me to connect with my childhood. I do feel a healing quality in this work.

There is a connection to nature. Here I can totally forget my stress and just wonder at the simplicity and beauty of the outdoors. It does get hot around ten am and I need to keep my hydration. I was amazed to find the mason jars in the kitchen today. My mother loved to can. I felt a spirit of protection and comfort today.

No aches, but I feel as if I work a little slowly because I hadn’t done this in some time.

Day 2

Planting in the garden was very fun. I really enjoyed digging and planting. This was something I did with my mother as a child. I helped plant tomatoes, squash, and other plants. I enjoy learning more modern irrigation tools and just the creation and nature. My body was more prepared for today and the weather, etc.

I enjoy working with other women to produce something so amazing and beautiful. I have learned new ways to garden and I think I will start gardening as a new hobby once I depart shelter. I was amazed a product (commercial) is produced from the garden. I am aware of many more functional uses for natural things.

Day 3

Amazing!!! Learning about how orders are shipped and how to gather supply for order fulfillment. Never really thought any of my supply chain studies would be relevant to this but it made the day interesting. I am amazed at the significance of the garden to the local community via the benefits it provides and the impact that it gives residents of the shelter.

Today we picked flowers again for harvest days. It was a little muggy but endurable.

When I am gardening I find it to be a peaceful time. I love using the tools and I love looking at finished product. I have rediscovered a passion that I had in this experience. There is a healing quality to the garden that has been immensely therapeutic. It enables me to focus not solely on the tasks that are needed in the garden itself but also for life skills as I rebuild my life from trauma.

Simple things seem to enable us to cope better with life’s complexities. There is also an added benefit of giving women simple financial empowerment tools to sustain themselves in adverse situations and I find this to be a beneficial function of this study.