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Bloom! Garden and Freedom!!! July 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — julieannclark @ 11:10 am
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Introducing Freedom a la Cart– doma’s new social enterprise for our ladies of CATCH court– women who have exited a life trapped in the sex trade and human trafficking.

Kae, doma’s US Project Coordinator has been caring for the Bloom! garden this spring.  The garden was created to support this new social enterprise this summer!  And wow, has it been fun for me, Kae, Lauren, and all of the survivors who have been working hard to see it through from seed to harvest.

Although Kae will be scaling down her time spent with our survivors while she is caring for her two twin boys early this fall, she has ‘given birth’ to an amazing garden and this fabulous social enterprise idea for our dear survivors!

In her words:

Everyday is Greenday at Bloom! Just a few weeks ago, our garden had its very first harvest: squash, basil, parsley and okra…

which turned into an amazing pesto dish–the ladies saw food go from the earth to our bellies in 30 minutes. But let me start at the beginning.

March:  Our garden has two jobs — to feed our lovely ladies and to support our social enterprise, Freedom a la Cart-  FALC. It was started by an awesome donation of indoor grow lights from Indoor Gardens.  (Thanks, Paul!)  We had one survivor in Bloom at the time, and neither she nor I had ever grown anything under artificial lights. Julie’s dad donated the seeds.  Pots were donated by Fishers Gardens on Truro Ave.
— all we had to buy was dirt, trays and a watering can. Caris Post, super doma volunteer, monkeyed up to the rafters of the basement and rigged up the lights. I planted the seeds with A.M., and she watered faithfully every day, toting that watering can up and down the stairs over and over. After just a few days it looked like this:

April:  And then this:

May:  And this!

June:  It was time to go outside. There was a big ol’ rectangle of earth outside, all cleared. The Heritage folk came and filled it with lots of compost. Then the Vandeveer Family from Abolition U. came and planted four nice fat rows of veggies and herbs — they even brought their dog and took the survivors grocery shopping. When they left, Kate Snow came and helped put down all the straw (holds in moisture, lessens the weeds, slugs hate it). We planted a ring of marigolds around the garden (turns the bunnies away).

We planted

• tomatoes (3 varieties)

• okra

• parsley

• basil

• eggplant

• snow peas

• squash

• zucchini

• broccoli

• brussels sprouts

• peppers (bell & hot)


Our beds multiply! As Freedom a la Cart comes into real fruition, we realized that cilantro was about to become very important to our lives (Freedom’s flavors are pretty Brazilian–who knew?). So Emily Dannemiller and ladies from her Bible study came and dug us a precious little bed. Then Bailee Frasier  brought her two daughters and they put new soil into the plot and sowed cilantro seeds right in. People say it’s hard to start from seed, but that plot now houses about 100 little cilantro plants.

Heritage came back toward the end of July to till a new plot for our remaining veggies–Trish Dehnbostel of Local Matters donated more parsley and peppers–we have more of our own tomatoes and eggplant and three watermelons to put in the ground.

Some of our Bloom! survivors are a little leery of dirt and bugs, but S.H. was my super waterer (she just moved from Bloom! to Amethyst last week), doma’s Lauren and Kayla have been helping, and more loving green thumbs are incoming.  And there’s even a great story about Lauren using the organic habanero insect deterrent to clean the Bloom! house.  It may involve a lot of coughing and gagging…


We have been harvesting and will use the harvest for our food cart this month!

Several events for Freedom a la Cart are already on the calendar:

August 7th is “A Night of Hope” .  Join us around 4pm in the parking lot of 345 E. 2nd Ave. in Columbus for some yumm-o, locally grown food!  See below for a short promo video about the event, featuring our dear CATCH survivors and Judge Herbert.

August 11th is a luncheon with Judge Herbert for church and community leaders who want to hear more about how to get involved in doma’s Bloom! programs for the CATCH court ladies. Email daniel@domaconnection.org for details.


Follow Freedom a la Cart on twitter to see where we are located each day we are in operation at lunch time downtown C-bus.