Thistle Farms has been in operation since 1997. They provide recovery opportunities for women through connecting them with safe housing, a meaningful job and a lifelong sisterhood of support, all free of charge for victims.
After experiencing the death of her father and suffering subsequent child abuse at the age of 5, founder Becca Stevens longed to open a sanctuary for survivors just like herself. In 1997, Becca opened her first home to 5 women survivors.
To provide income and a meaningful occupation for women, Thistle Farms makes and sells candles, body & spa products, jewelry and home goods and a handful of other products. Through these avenues they are able to provide jobs with a sense of pride and meaning to women. Becca began making candles in a church basement with volunteers, and in 2001 Thistle Farms social enterprises was born.
At Thistle Farms, the question “What did you do?” is never asked- instead, the question asked is “What happened to you?”
Most women experience sexual abuse between the ages of 7-11 years old. Subsequently, most begin using drugs and alcohol at the age of 13 and then are introduced to the streets between the ages of 14 and 16.
Traumatic childhood experiences can lead to homelessness, addiction and further abuse creating a cycle that is hard to see your way out of. These cycles can lead to incarceration, further abuse, and addiction.
Thistle Farms believes that love is more powerful than all of the forces that drive women to these options and strive to bring whole, healthy community to the survivors of these traumas.
Why the Thistle? Thistles grow on the streets and alleys where the women of Thistle Farms have walked. Considered weeds by many, thistles have a deep root that can shoot through concrete and survive drought. The resilience, vibrancy, and healing qualities of the thistle parallel the survival and flourishing of women survivors.
Strategic funding from The Jensen Project will allow Thistle Farms to manage their growth by hiring a dedicated and experienced Work Readiness Coordinator to strengthen their job readiness curriculum. This role will fully prepare women to reenter the workforce with the skills, tools and confidence needed to succeed.
Thistle Farms will also implement a paid internship program for survivors interested in becoming Certified Peer Recovery Specialist and will connect them with organizations who can benefit from their experience and knowledge of addiction, trauma, and mental health.
The Jensen Project is honored to partner with Thistle Farms as they continue to empower women survivors to regain control of their lives and build a better future to end the cycle of sexual abuse.
A yearly grant program, funding up to $2 Million to advance economic empowerment and housing opportunities for agencies who serve adult female survivors of human trafficking.