Our third harvest from this season’s companion planting was a success. The sweet potatoes grew so big and plentiful this season. We’ve already begun meal planning to make sure everyone living at our shelter will enjoy the harvest — roasting, baking, mashing, making soup. And delicious sweet potato pies, of course!

The sweet potato beautifully represents the Grow Appalachia mission to be better nourished, healthier, and economically stronger. These tubers also have a special connection to nurturing lives harmed by intimate partner abuse.

Holden Dillman, Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) at our organization, captured the lovely photos of Jessica and Christina featured in this post. He also wrote a reflection on sweet potatoes and healing after helping with the harvest. He has given us permission to share it with you.

Sweet potatoes are without a doubt my spirit vegetable. I’m the most vulnerable in the midst of change, and I need privacy in the process of transformation. For survivors to see the parallel between their journey and the process necessary for growth among root vegetables creates a significant space for healing and understanding. Change is hard and awkward at times. We must learn to unapologetically create the space we need to heal and grow.  Be like the sweet potato and create the space you need.