Love Heals: The Moyo Team Visits Thistle Farms
During January and February, Moyo has featured content around the topic Enslavement & Freedom, focusing on issues like human trafficking, mass incarceration, and addiction. As part of a new initiative to be engage directly with the issues surrounding our topics, the Moyo Team visited Thistle Farms in Nashville, TN. Thistle Farms began in 1997 under the name Magdalene, which is a two-year residential program that provides advocacy services for women coming out of prostitution, addiction, and trafficking. Magdalene still operates under Thistle Farms, but is only one of several other initiatives. Thistle Farms’ social enterprises include Thistle Farms Bath & Body Care Product Line, Thistle Stop Café, Shared Trade Global Marketplace, The Studios Workshop, and National Education and Training Center.
When we got to Thistle Farms, we were greeted by Jennifer, a graduate of the Magdalene program and a trafficking survivor. Jennifer now works for Thistle Farms, and she gave us a tour of the Thistle Farms facility, which houses all of their social enterprises, as well as telling us more about her story.
During the tour, we saw where all of the Thistle Farms products are created and met many of the women who work for the organization. Thistle Farms employs many of the women who graduate from the Magdalene program, and this job allows them to continue on their journey to recovery. We talked with women making bath and body products, created paper out of flowers and thistles, and boxing these products up to ship all over the world.
All proceeds from Thistle Farms products go to support their social enterprises and the Magdalene residential program. More than that, product sales provide stable income for residents and graduates. Through product sales, employees move towards independence and financial stability. A stable income allows Thistle Farms employees to purchase their own cars, pay their own bills and taxes, and support their families, their health, and their continued recovery. This past year, residents and graduates received over $600,000 in income through Thistle Farms. As a result, graduates have purchased their first home, driven their first cars, and dropped their children off at school for the first time.
Overall, visiting and learning more about Thistle Farms was an enlightening experience for the Moyo Team. Thistle Farms’ mission is to show that love is the most powerful force for change in the world, a mission that Moyo wholeheartedly endorses. To learn more about how you can help the work at Thistle Farms, see the resources below.
If you are in the Nashville area, there are volunteer opportunities at Thistle Farms. The goal for volunteers is to celebrate women who are residents and graduates of our residential program as they move from addiction and prostitution to a life that is spiritually rich, economically self-sufficient, emotionally full, and drug free.
Specific tasks available to volunteers depends greatly upon upcoming manufacturing needs, and the time of year. Christmas and Mother’s Day are especially busy times for our community. All volunteer opportunities for the upcoming week will be listed on Twitter each Friday. Watch your own Twitter feed for Friday volunteer listings, or view Thistle Farms’ Twitter feed.
Other Ways to Help
- Host a Thistle Farms Home Party from anywhere in the world. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Be a Social Media Advocate. Remember the hashtag: #loveheals
- Shop at Thistle Farms Global: Shared Trade. Link women globally through sharing the work of our Shared Trade partners.
- Purchase Thistle Farms products and display in your home and business.
- Attend an Education & Training Workshop.
- Harvest Thistles. We use dried thistles in our handmade paper. Learn here.
- Visit the Thistle Stop Cafe. Help a Thistle Farms employee earn income as well as a tea grower in Uganda.