Re: Prison farms for Food Pantries & Soup Kitchens
- Subject: Re: [cg] Prison farms for Food Pantries & Soup Kitchens
- From: "Jim Call" firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Sat, 19 Oct 2002 19:47:46 -0500
I agree with Adam in respect to using prison population to compete with free
enterprise. This labor force should never be allowed to undermine the
struggle of those trying to scratch a living by operating a farm, a garden
or any other business.
Having said this, I do believe there is a viable use for these resources.
For example, our "beautification" Mayor utilizes local prisoners to conduct
such tasks as picking up litter, cleaning up local parks and other other
outside activities. This is not a "chain gang" mandated program (Alabama
has discontinued gang chains) but rather on a volunteer basis. Those who
qualify and wish to participate can reduce their sentences. A typical
participant is one who has commited such crimes as writing bad checks, DUI,
etc. They are only allowed to work 4 hours a day.
In a few years (bye, bye corporate world) when I have some time, I would
like to work with the local jail and start a garden program which will be
totally operated by "Community Services" (thats their official name). This
program would be an educational tool to introduce gardening. 75% of its
harvest would help feed the jail population and the remaining 25% would go
to the needy in our area. All resources would be on a volunteer basis.
Jim Call, CASA Community Garden Volunteer Director
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, October 19, 2002 9:36 AM
Subject: [cg] Prison farms for Food Pantries & Soup Kitchens
> As an old restaurant union member and shop steward (Hotel Restaurant
> Employees and Bartender's International Union NY Locals 1, 69, 6 and
> 100) I oppose any kind of scab or unfree labor. Trying to clothe myself
> my family in non-sweatshop goods (bless the Union Label when we find it!)
> horribly time consuming and expensive. And I support small farmers through
> our local greenmarket. A grower of perennials from a greenmarket a block
> from my apartment has been the source of many plants in the Clinton
> Garden. His business and family are very important to our neighborhood.
> has the same migrant workers every year because they believe in health
> coverage for their workers - it's the only time that some of these guys
> get their teeth fixed.
> Bottom line: Prison labor should be used on farms ( and I would underline
> that I'd want this to be a voluntary program) to produce food for our food
> pantries and neighborhood soup kitchens. Could free men and citizens
> that food? Of course, but our food distribution system has become so
> corporatized, agribusiness so divorced from the real needs of our society
> that many in this country suffer chronic hunger amidst seas of plenty.
> Can community gardens help? Sure and many make outstanding contributions
> our neighborhood's food security by enabling low income families to raise
> food for their families, share the excess with seniors, neighbors, or
> a row of vegetables for a local program.
> Hunger in America is a national disgrace. Our well developed gleaning and
> surplus redistribution programs can only do so much. There's even a
> in Arkansas where sports hunters donate game to local food pantries. Those
> who choose to open their eyes can see the hungry - unfortunately most
> and the media doesn't choose to enlighten it's viewers.
> Bottom line: Prison farms or industries should not be used to undermine
> anyones livelihood. I only advocate prison labor to raise food for Food
> Security - food pantries and soup kitchens. Community gardens need to do
> more in the fight against hunger in this country, in both education and
> production, but community gardens can't do it alone unless there's a
> community garden on every block.
> That said, I'm off to sell t-shirts, baseball hats, our cook book and
> from our 2002 harvest at the Clinton Community garden ( got a loud voice
> no shame - a throwback to pushcart days.) Tomorrow I'll be stirring soup
> my synagogues soup kitchen ( my Sunday of the month.)
> Thinking about harvests and hunger in America,
> Adam Honigman
> Volunteer, Clinton Community Garden
> To use a goverment program to undermine citizen's jobs
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