Spotlight: Planting Justice

August 13, 2021

Spotlight: Planting Justice

Our criminal justice system in America has plenty of room for improvement. According to the NAACP, “There are 3 million people in jail and prison today, far outpacing population growth and crime. Also, despite making up close to 5% of the global population, the U.S. has nearly 25% of the world's prison population.”¹  For more information and statistics regarding our Criminal Justice system, check out the article here

As a country we have a long way to go before we see the criminal justice system completely reformed. While we’re fighting for a fair and balanced justice system, what can we do now for the inmates?

This can certainly be a touchy subject, but the hope of prison is that human beings can have the opportunity to fully rehabilitate and re-enter society after serving their term. One of Hamama’s core beliefs is that all people should be able to have access to fresh greens. So what does this have to do with food or gardening? Well let me introduce you to the Holistic Re-Entry Program at Planting Justice.

Planting Justice is in the business of growing fresh foods, expanding job opportunities and healing communities. The mission at Planting Justice is “to empower people impacted by mass incarceration and other social inequities with the skills and resources to cultivate food sovereignty, economic justice, and community healing.

Their Holistic Re-Entry program is innovative and provides the job/skill opportunity to formerly incarcerated people. Depending on the state, when an inmate is released from prison, they sometimes leave with the very clothes they walked in with, a $50 dollar voucher and a bus ticket, which does not exactly set up a person for success. Re-entering society after incarceration can be daunting, especially when it is so difficult to find employment or housing. Should things be simple? Certainly not, but there should be a program that helps break down some barriers & allows for job opportunities.

That is why the Holistic Re-Entry program through San Quentin State Prison is needed in so many other prisons across the country. They have 5 Keys to their successful program. You can read their steps in detail below:

Check out this video below to hear more from the staff at Planting Justice:

You can hear the passion and transformation in the voices of the people who work at Planting Justice. 

As one of the largest incarcerated countries, we should be fully invested in the rehabilitation of inmates. Urban Agriculture like Planting Justice as the opportunity to provide fresh foods and well paying jobs to formerly incarcerated people. When we truly care about the well-being of our neighbors and communities, we can achieve transformation. Alfred Austin says that
“the glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”  This might just be the exact healing power that is needed to start anew, because everybody deserves to have their body and soul fully fed.

To learn more about the wonderful things going on at Planting Justice, you can visit their website here.  If you would like to support Planting Justice, and I know you want to, you donate here.

Sources:

  1. NAACP. “Criminal Justice Fact Sheet.” NAACP, 25 May 2021, naacp.org/resources/criminal-justice-fact-sheet.


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