Gardening with prisoners
We set up a project giving prisoners the opportunity to grow food inside prisons, creating a positive impact on their health, behaviour and outlook.
Growing for Life started as a simple prison gardening project in the disused exercise yards of the resettlement wing at Dartmoor Prison. In an exceptionally bleak environment Eden (in partnership with the prison and other supporters), created fruit, vegetable and healing gardens, with the resulting produce delivered to local people and schools in the surrounding Princetown area, itself a marginalised and deprived community.
The project was extended to a number of other prisons, in partnership with Cisco, with a focus on community enterprise, resilience and prosperity.
The first example of such a networked social business was an integrated scheme at Torbay set up to receive people released from prison who wished to gain recognised qualifications or broaden their knowledge to include things like marketing, distribution, sales, teaching, catering, construction and maintenance. The scheme also provided training, volunteering and employment opportunities for those at risk of offending, homeless people and those on probation, including providing an alternative sentence to custody.
Growing for Life continues in the form of an organic fruit and vegetable farm at the Shekinah Mission, a charity based in Plymouth seeking to support people who are homeless, have substance misuse issues, are ex-offenders or feel socially excluded.