Grow a Row
A Grassroots Healing Project for Women
by Deb Soule
In my early twenties, I volunteered for a domestic violence hotline. This experience greatly expanded my understanding of domestic violence, sexism, and misogyny. In my first book, Healing Herbs for Women: A Guide to Natural Remedies, I included herbal formulas for supporting a woman who is healing from an abusive experience or who has abuse memories resurfacing. Herbs and flowers work well alongside other healing modalities in supporting a woman’s journey to wholeness.
Violence against women is prevalent worldwide. When I first learned about Eve Ensler’s work in the Congo Region (www.vday.org) to assist women who have been raped and
violated, I wept and said to myself “How can I be of help?” The answer was to “grow a row of calendula.”
Calendula is a remarkable herb for healing wounds and traumatized tissue and for filling the body and spirit with vitality and light. Used as an oil or salve, it heals all kinds
of wounds, soothes and heals inflamed or infected vaginal tissue, and lessens scarring.
As a tea, it offers much benefit as is described in the calendula section of my book, How to Move Like a Gardener
The Grow a Row Project
The Grow a Row project is a grassroots initiative. My vision for this project is as follows:
Anyone who has a small or large organic garden can “grow a row” of calendula, collect the flowers regularly, and dry them. Store the dried flowers in a glass jar in a cupboard
or in a clean brown paper bag.
Contact your local or county organization that serves women and children who have experienced abuse. Tell a staff person about the Grow a Row project and your wish
to donate dried flowers for tea or healing baths or to donate calendula oil or salve that you make from your flowers. Print off and give information to the staff about the Grow a Row project and the educational sheet* about calendula and its healing benefits. This exchange builds community among people and plants. If you are not located near an organization that is interested in giving calendula to their clients, then contact The Grow a Row Project through my contact form and we can give you the names of
organizations that you can contact.
My hope is that this grassroots initiative will encourage women and men to grow and dry calendula, and will create more dialogue, community support, and understanding
of the root causes of violence and oppression within families, schools, the health care system, and government agencies. Planting seeds and sharing herbs is a way to bring
about positive change.
*Information sheets about growing, collecting, drying, and preparing calendula into teas, baths, oils, and salves will be posted to this website soon!