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Uplifting

Nonprofit Flips Deserted Prison into Sustainable Farm With the Aid of At-Risk Youth and Jobless Veterans

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With a little bit of effort, there’s nothing in the world that cannot be changed. Effort can transform something useless into something useful.

Today we bring to you a great transformation where an abandoned prison was flipped into a sustainable farm thanks to the efforts of at-risk youth and jobless veterans.

The prison in North Carolina was abandoned and decommissioned. But now, the prison grounds are serving as a farming ground. The grounds are being maintained by those who would have ended up in real prison if it wasn’t for this initiative. 

These individuals are using the world’s oldest occupation, farming, to grow vegetables in the abandoned prison grounds. Growing Change is a nonprofit organization that has come up with a great solution that solves multiple problems all at once. This is why they have transformed old prisons into year-round farming and education centers.

Reclaiming the site’s secondary fencing is key to our animal management plan. Thanks to Terrence for a lot of shovel time!

This program uses at-risk youth almost at the edge of the criminal justice system and jobless wounded veterans returning from deployment. The youth are given the opportunity to fulfill long hours of community service.

They also learn life skills, animal husbandry, and sustainable farming practices. There is even the chance for them to receive clinical therapy in a suitable environment. The discipline and leadership skills of jobless veterans guide the at-risk youth.

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Converting prisons into sustainable farms has achieved a 92% reduction in the recidivism rate. The criminal recidivism national average is 43%. The veterans are meanwhile focusing on obtaining university degrees in sustainable agriculture and environmental sciences. Both these groups of individuals are now working to rehabilitate the abandoned land. 

MIT graduate students planting flowers with #GrowingChange youth leaders at the abandoned Wagram prison site. This was the first planting on-site in decades.

Growing Change has reformed a large societal area while providing fresh produce to the citizens of North Carolina as well. Because the incarceration rate has decreased in the USA, North Carolina is shutting down prisons.

These prisons are ideal for farming because of their large open spaces and sturdy fences. Even the prison kitchen has been transformed into a community kitchen that provides training related to preparing and preserving food.

It acts as a classroom for the students who are receiving training in culinary arts. The fresh produce grown on the farm is sold to local restaurants. The essence of entrepreneurship is instilled in the hearts of everyone who work there.

In 2017, GrowingChange gave tours of its first prison flip site at the closed Scotland Correctional Facility in Wagram, NC. In addition to many activities, crowds were able to ascend to the top of the guard tower, which is one of the first buildings to be remodeled.

https://youtu.be/alsEsqKBvLo

For more info GrowingChange.Org

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