survivors remain clean, sober and employed two years after graduation.
Collective income earned locally by survivors last year.
Current number of beds for women survivors in our national network.
Women artisans in 20 countries impacted by Thistle Global sales
Broken Systems to Healing Communities
The roots of domestic prostitution and trafficking are often found in severe childhood abuse, traumatic loss and/or neglect. Most Thistle Farms residents first experienced sexual abuse between ages 7-11 and began using alcohol/drugs by age 13. These traumatic childhood experiences gave way to homelessness, addiction, prostitution, trafficking, further abuse, and incarceration. Poverty, the instability of the foster care system, and the disease of addiction compound the problem, endangering women and leading them to patterns of dependence. For over 20 years, Thistle Farms has been at the forefront of creating a collaboration of resources, systems and job opportunities that will help women not only heal, but thrive.
Heal a Woman | Heal a Family
Thistle Farms employs women in a city with one of the highest rates of income disparity in the country. Last year, women survivors collectively earned over $1.3m in income. Employees are paid a living wage, provided a strong benefits package, and a healthy work environment. At Thistle Farms, we take the role of survivor leader seriously. Survivors have leadership roles in our residential program, as well as in our manufacturing, sales, finance, café, global and education departments.
At Thistle Farms, We declare that love is the most powerful force for change in the world, by building a movement that connects survivors, customers, advocates, and communities.
We light the way for women seeking sanctuary by providing housing and meaningful jobs.
We offer hope to one another as we heal from years of trauma by sharing purpose, stories, and hospitality.
In 1997, Rev. Becca Stevens opened Thistle Farms’ first recovery home under the name Magdalene. Her vision was to create a community where women could heal from years of trafficking, addiction, prostitution and the violence of life on the streets.
Four years later, it was clear that the women completing Magdalene were making great strides in their recovery, but they were struggling to become financially self-sufficient due to multiple employment barriers. After this realization, Becca, a handful of volunteers, and current residents started a small social enterprise making candles and body balms in a church kitchen. The goal was to help women gain work experience and an income generated through our product sales. They called their new company Thistle Farms, named for the only flower that grew on the streets and under the overpasses where employees formerly lived and walked.
Magdalene Residential Services
Thistle Farms Magdalene program is a two-year residential community offering women survivors the time and space they need to heal in order to become healthy, productive members of their families and their communities.
Thistle Social Enterprises
Thistle Farms currently manages two social enterprises offering a viable way to help women begin a pathway towards economic independence while also giving us a sustainable revenue stream. Employees are paid a living wage, provided a strong benefits package, and a healthy work environment. Most importantly, they gain new skills, financial independence, and the opportunity to connect with customers and partners globally.
The Café at Thistle Farms
The Café at Thistle Farms is a restaurant and special event space located at the heart of Thistle Farms campus. With a produce-driven, full service menu, the Café is staffed by women survivors proud to serve locally-sourced breakfast, lunch, and Nashville’s only daily tea service.
In addition, the Café at Thistle Farms offers an array of options and services for special events, whether it is a private meal for 10 or a reception for 100+.
Body & Home
Body & Home, Thistle Farms largest enterprise, creates natural bath and body products that are as healing for our customers as they are for the women who create them.
What started with a few volunteers in a church kitchen has grown into a national brand that produces more than 20 different product lines in our manufacturing and distribution center located on our main campus in Nashville, Tennessee. Everything we produce is hand poured in small batches by women survivors using pure essential oils to promote wellness and healing. Our products are free of synthetic fragrances, parabens, or petroleum based ingredients.
Thistle National & Global Network
Creating opportunities to connect women survivors with healing, hope, and economic freedom extends far beyond our Middle Tennessee roots and across a coordinated movement nationally and globally. Through our national and global network, we continually seek to collaborate on innovative ways to deliver justice, while also challenging systems that commodify and abuse women.