NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Each and every product at The Shop at Thistle Farms has a story behind it. They’re made by residents and graduates of the Thistle Farms program that provides healing for survivors of trafficking prostitution and addiction.
“I didn’t have any hope, I didn’t have any dreams, I didn’t think I was ever going to make it out. I was in and out of jail. In and out of prison,” said Ty, Director of Manufacturing.
“I was a witness to my father’s murder at the age of 12,” Dorris Walker-Taylor, Senior Ambassador & Graduate Advisor said. “It shocked my soul, and I started out with an addiction to marijuana as a child and it quickly progressed.”
But the Thistle Farms program changed all of that.
“A lot of folks struggle to talk about the impact of homelessness, or childhood trauma, or the impact of commercial exploitation,” said Thistle Farms CEO Tasha Kennard. “Here, in this community, you can find a way to tip-toe into that conversation and realize, it’s more common than we all realize. Every person should have an opportunity to be empowered and dignified, and that’s what we’re doing here at Thistle Farms.”
📧 Get more content & exclusive deals from Local on 2 | Become a Local on 2 Insider →
Founded 25 years ago, Thistle Farms provides a second chance at life. Their two-year program gives women safe shelter, job skills, and most importantly—hope.
“This is where the magic begins,” said Ty as we walked around the facility. “Even in the women’s lives and with the products.”
The work starts in their warehouse, where women learn professional skills—some crafting the Thistle Farms staple item sold in The Shop at Thistle Farms.
“We light the candle every day for the women who are still out there on the streets still suffering. We light it for the women who lost their way, in the hope that they find their way back. That candle was lit for me years before I came.” said Ty, Director of Manufacturing.
That symbol of hope continues to light the way, as graduates, like Ty and Dorris, continue to make their dreams into reality.
“To the little Dorris that was lost and broken for so many years – just hold on, watch where we go now. Because I’m moving forward, and I love it!” Dorris said.
“But life is so good now. So good,” said Ty. “For every experience that I’ve had out there on the streets, I’m grateful for that too, believe it or not, because I can relate to the women that come in these doors, the new women, you know I know what they’ve been through.”
The group says ‘Love is the most powerful force for change in the world.’
“I think kindness matters, and love is everything,” Ty said.
Thistle Farms is always looking for individuals and companies to work alongside the women that they serve. Click here to donate or volunteer.