A social enterprise using fresh-cut flowers to raise funds for women who have survived sexual abuse
by KARI WILKINSON
U Grow Girl is a social enterprise co-founded by Crystal Wood, Leha Marshall and Justin Marshall. It was created by survivors for survivors of sexual abuse, with a goal to create an inclusive community for adult survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA) centred around healing and empowerment.
1 in 4 women experience sexual abuse before the age of 18. Given that 79% of survivors never disclose their abuse, these numbers are said to be much higher. That’s a lot of women to help! The trio believe that when you heal a woman, you heal a community – and when you heal a survivor, you heal future generations – helping to break the cycle of abuse.
As survivors themselves, both Leha and Crystal know what it means to live with the trauma of CSA. Far too many women experience CSA, and they often carry their trauma in secrecy with little to no support. They want survivors to know they see you, believe in you and are here for you. It’s time for you to heal.
The family is new to the area; they moved here in the spring of 2019. Obsessed with flowers, Crystal, Leha, and Justin, along with help from their families, got busy preparing their flower fields and barns to grow and harvest over 20,000 organic blooms. Summer 2020 arrived, and they were eagerly anticipating launching their flower sales at local farm markets. They attended 4 markets before the season ended for them, as flowers were deemed non-essential under the Provincial Health Orders.
A really quick pivot to online sales got them through the past year. Year two has been frought with more challenges, with markets closed or postponed again due to the pandemic, wild fires and smoke. Thankfully – they have been allowed to move to the Downtown Salmon Arm Market at Ross Street Plaza – where they will be selling floral bouquets through the Thanksgiving Weekend.
“We love our new community and all of the incredible support. It’s hard to speak about sexual abuse, especially child sexual abuse, but when we come together in support of one another, it gives us hope that we can make a difference.” says Leha Marshall.
They also planted 4,000 haskap berry bushes on their farm in 2019. The owners at Shuswap Cider Co. have bought their haskap berries for a brand new Haskap Apple Cider available by the litre! And they’ve sweetened the deal even more by donating one dollar from every litre sold to the U Grow Girl Time to Heal Retreats.
Covid-willing, they hope to host their first Time To Heal Retreat in the Spring of 2022.
After two years of dedicating herself to every and any type of therapy or healing practice she could find, Crystal Wood has created a You Tube channel to share what worked and what didn’t, and to offer advice and guidance on ways to find healing within your own heart. youtube.com/UGrowGirl
If you are inspired by their story, visit them online at ugrowgirl.ca. They offer a variety of artisan products, hand blended tea, organic seedlings and flower subscriptions.