RE: Prison garden in Missouri
Not being a Southerner, I don't have the soothing singing of chain gang
workers enroute to the fields as a part of my cherished childhood memories.
Nazi & Soviet slave labor camps are, however, a part of my family's
personal history... and not as management.
In upstate NY financially strapped farming and rustbelt type communities
jump all over themselves lobbying for the next prison. Don't you think that
our farmers would rather farm rather than work a dangerous 8 hour shift as
a prison guard? Wouldn't it be better to feed our hungry using their labor
as independant farmers?
Running a food bank is a hard and thankless job, and if there's a ready free
source, ya gotta take advantage of it. If there are reports that the
convicts are happier doing this job and get more satisfaction from it than
banging out license plates or doing telemarketing, great. But prison labor
is prison labor.
At our local NYC Dept of the Environment's Greenmarket (that I support as a
Community Board Member & booster) on 57th & 9th avenue there is an organic
veggie & plant stand run by ex-cons. Their stuff is primo, they're selling
more stuff weekly, but they're struggling to make it. Many of their
ex-farmer neighbors are now working as prison guards because they gave up
farming. Ironies pile up.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Verin [SMTP:email@example.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2000 1:21 PM
> To: Honigman, Adam; listserv cg
> Subject: RE: [cg] Prison garden in Missouri
> Slow down there, Adam.
> I've heard many account of prisoners LOVING their gardening opportunities,
> for it is/was their only outlet for creativity, connection to life...
> vitality, color, food... sense of their work doing good for the hungry...
> In an instance where food was being grown in a prison for a food bank, the
> work was entirely voluntary, and fact of the matter is, those prisoners
> got involved wouldn't quit to let other prisoners have a try. The food
> gardening mattered that much to them. Moreover, the work in the garden was
> way more satisfying than hanging out in the weight lifting room or the
> concrete court yard.
> In the past, prison farms fed the prisoners. Not such a bad idea. Many of
> could use lessons in appreciation for the food we eat, i.e. to actually
> to make it grow. Corporate food distributors have gradually replaced
> farming, and from what I've heard, the prisoners were way better off
> the fresh produce they grew than the processed stuff coming out of "food
> service" companies.
> I put this out just to say it's best not to lash out at things since there
> can also be good sides.
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of Honigman, Adam
> > Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2000 12:07 PM
> > To: 'Emma Eyre'; firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Subject: RE: [cg] Prison garden in Missouri
> > Emma,
> > Prison farms are an old story in the USA. The restorative justice spin
> > window dressing for the use of unpaid prison agricultural labor
> > in what has
> > come to be known as "The Prison Industrial Complex" . That the food
> > get fresh food is a splendid end. The means is appalling. This
> > end would be
> > better met by free, independant farmers paid a living wage by the
> > government. That the unpaid agricultural labor of prison inmates is
> > construed by the program directors as a great gift is similar to the
> > "Arbeit Macht Zu Frei" ( work makes you free) cast iron signs on the
> > to Nazi concentration and forced labor camps. Orwell lives.
> > The largest and oldest self-sustaining organic prison farm is
> > Angola Prison (which was designed on the ante-bellum slave plantation
> > model.) Angola prison, whose inmates are predominantly
> > and whose sentences are often life imprisonment, can hardly be
> > considered a
> > progressive institution. Forced agricultural labor in a chain gang is
> > the model of renewable agriculture that we should foster.
> > Adam
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Emma Eyre [SMTP:email@example.com]
> > > Sent: Monday, July 10, 2000 12:03 PM
> > > To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > > Subject: [cg] Prison garden in Missouri
> > >
> > > Hello garden folks,
> > >
> > > Thought some of you might be interested in the following article (link
> > > below) on a prison garden in Boonville, Missouri.
> > > http://www.cnn.com/2000/FOOD/news/07/07/seeds.of.reform.ap/
> > >
> > > I have recently received a Peace Corps invitation to serve as an
> > > agriculture/forestry volunteer in El Salvador for a couple of years.
> > > recruiter said that I would most likely be working in a gardening
> > > cooperative or a tree nursery. Does anyone on this list have any
> > > experience in agriculture work in Latin America -- specifically
> > > America? I would love to get in touch with you. Also, if
> > anyone knows of
> > > internet resources I should look up, please drop me a line -- see my
> > > e-mail
> > > above (so you don't have to reply to the whole list).
> > >
> > > Thank you,
> > > Emma Eyre
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> > > Emma Eyre
> > > Curriculum Coordinator
> > > Division of Medical Sciences
> > > Harvard Medical School
> > > 260 Longwood Avenue
> > > Boston, MA 02115
> > > (617) 432-0605
> > >
> > >
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