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How Community-Based Farming Complements Prison Reform Efforts

Updated: May 31, 2023

In the ongoing pursuit of social good, it's important to recognize the intersections between seemingly disparate initiatives. Two such areas of focus are prison reform and regenerative and community-based farming.




Prison reform focuses on addressing the systemic issues that lead to mass incarceration and creating supportive programs for individuals re-entering society. Regenerative and community-based farming, on the other hand, emphasize sustainability, healing of the land, healthy agricultural practices, local food production, and community engagement.


So, how do these two initiatives intersect?


Firstly, they both strive for a more just, equitable society. Prison reform seeks to rectify injustices in the criminal justice system, while regenerative and community-based farming aim to rectify injustices in the food system by providing access to fresh, healthy food for all.


Secondly, both initiatives emphasize the power of community engagement. Successful reentry programs often involve community support and participation, while regenerative and community-based farming inherently involve collaboration and shared responsibility.


Perhaps most significantly, community-based farming can offer a unique opportunity for formerly incarcerated individuals. Farming programs within prisons have been found to be a successful form of rehabilitation, offering valuable skills training and a therapeutic outlet. Upon release, community-based farming can provide employment opportunities and a sense of purpose, helping to smooth the transition back into society and reduce recidivism rates.


While prison reform and regenerative and community-based farming may seem like different pieces of the social good puzzle, they are deeply connected. By recognizing and leveraging this relationship, we can work towards a more equitable, resilient, and sustainable future for all.


For further evidence of this significant correlation, look no further than the prison reform programs that are transforming the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated through horticulture. Both Planting Justice and Insight Garden Program give meaning and purpose to individuals through gardening. Not only does gardening improve mental health it promotes healing. The impact these programs have on reducing recidivism and making communities safer is proof enough that integrating gardening into more people's lives has extraordinary value.


In conclusion, while prison reform and community-based farming may seem like different pieces of the social good puzzle, they are deeply connected. By recognizing and leveraging this connection, we can work towards a more equitable, resilient, and sustainable future for all.


Learn more:

Planting Justice: https://plantingjustice.org/

Insight Garden Program: https://insightgardenprogram.org/

Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis: http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/07/08/why.gardening.good/index.html



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