Farm helps mothers in drug addiction recovery

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- After years of drug addiction, an east Tennessee mother knew she had to make a change when she became pregnant.

This year, thanks to a farm, she began a path to recovery.

Linda Roberts said her drug addiction nearly took her life and when she became pregnant, she didn't know where to turn.

"I was scared and didn't know what to do," Roberts said.

Her doctors suggested she enroll at Susannah's House, a Knoxville, Tennessee-based organization that helps pregnant women and new mothers addicted to drugs. Roberts agreed and took part in a newly formed partnership with Century Harvest Farms in Greenback, Tennessee.

"It's not just, 'Oh, I'm not doing drugs anymore,' it's a lifestyle change," Roberts said.

Century Harvest Farms and Susannah's House partnered to help mothers addicted to drugs. The program allows women to learn how to grow their own food, cook with it and learn life skills in the process.

"I loved it, I loved being outside just meditating, being out there by myself, being with God and putting my hands in the Earth. It was just cool to be able to pick it from the farm and take it home," Roberts said.

Executive Director of Century Harvest Farms Foundation Jen Patterson said the farm has decided to offer agricultural classes that will help mothers learn job skills and eventually be hired.

"I think that if you give someone a supportive environment and opportunities and a goal to reach at the end... they can truly make a difference in their life," Patterson said.

Women spend at least 40 days at the farm and can participate in a variety of activities. While they are gone, child care is provided.

Roberts said the combination of support from Susannah's House and Century Harvest Farms likely saved her life, but her biggest support is her 9-month-old son.

"I found God again. I had my son in April, and he's just changed my life, now I have my own place, my family is back in my life again, I have a job and I just try to be a good mom," Roberts said.

For more information about Susannah's House, visit the organization's Facebook page.

Century Harvest Farms is holding a fundraising to sponsor a farmer in the program on Saturday, February 24, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Sugar Mama's in Knoxville. For more information, visit the event Facebook page.