‘Making a positive difference in communities outside prison walls’
Rehabilitation is possible in San Quentin’s organic vegetable garden through the Insight Garden Program (IGP), according to Andri Antoniades a reporter for takepart an online news source.
Planting Justice, an Oakland-based nonprofit, supports San Quentin’s IGP gardening program. Planting Justice specializes in ecological education and urban food production, according to takepart.
The takepart article cites a National Public Radio statistic that more than “four out of 10 inmates return to prison within three years.” However, IGP said that inmates involved in its program have a recidivism rate of less than 10 percent.
“Inmates learn about food justice, the theories and practices of permaculture design, the structural inequalities of the industrial food system and how food plays a role in human rights issues,” Antoniades reported.
More than 1,000 inmates have gone through the program in the past 12 years.
Lennie Van Leonard, a participant in IGPwas asked, “Are the classes nothing more than filling up some free time with vocational gardening by learning landscaping skills?”
“No, definitely not, Van Leonard said. “First, it allows us to experience a certain sense of normalcy through gardening from such an abnormal type of existence living within these walls. It also encourages us on a personal level to learn to become more centered and spiritually grounded by having a conscience, wanting to weed out the unwanted and tending to our own gardens within as well.”
The takepart article reports that Connecticut and Minnesota also have gardening programs. “It’s common for those correctional facilities to donate at least a portion, if not all, of what’s grown to local food banks. That can help inmates feel like they’re making a positive difference in communities outside their prison walls.” ‘Making a positive difference in communities outside prison walls’