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Approximately two years ago a collaborative of Oakland based non and for profit companies and organizations including; The Green Life, Earthseed Consulting, Planting Justice, Wildheart

Gardens, Impact Hub Oakland, United Roots, Sustainability Economies Law Center, all

inspired by the work they had been doing in partnership with currently and formerly incarcerated

men and women, came together to design a pilot program that asked the question:

 

"Could an integrated program of culturally relevant, experiential permaculture design

education; meaningful, values-aligned, and entrepreneurial work; and wrap around services, reduce

recidivism by healing and restoring participants’ connections to the community and the

environment?"

 

Funded and supported by Alameda County's Public Health Department’s "Innovations in Re Entry

Program" I am pleased to announce that the answer is a resounding YES!!!

 

Pathways to Resilience was designed to offer:

 Prison Permaculture Garden projects and education in food justice, urban agriculture and

wellness

 

 Rites of Passage ceremonies

 

 Ongoing Case Management

 

 72 hour Permaculture Design certification

 

 Green Life Peer Support

 

 Capstone projects

 

 Living-Wage Employment for graduates

 

 Social Entrepreneur training

 

 Graduation ceremonies

 

 

We hosted an 18-month program based in San Quentin that served over 250 participants as well

as 2 re entry cohort classes of approximately 30 participants!  Some of our other successes

include: 

 

 Graduating 21 new permaculture designers and continuing to do the much-needed work

of diversifying the field of Permaculture design.

 

 Empowered participants in taking leadership around advocating for the links between the

health of our human selves and our planet through earth connection

 

 Succeeded in lowering recidivism rates for all graduates of our program

 

 Provided stable, living-wage employment for many graduates

 

 Provided community building, deepened relationships and support amongst participants

and between participants and program partners

 

 Provided hands-on and employable skill training through Permaculture Design course

and Capstone Projects

 

 Educating the larger re entry and permaculture community around the potential of

ecological and whole system inspired design as a healing tool for re entry

 

 Provided participants social entrepreneurship skills and a deeper comprehension of the

steps needed to be business owners

 

 "As of this date, just one of the 29 total participants in P2R are currently incarcerated.

That's a 3% recidivism rate, compared to 65% statewide!"

 

 

Now that the pilot program officially ended on April 30th moving forward we will be retiring

the name Pathways to Resilience as each organization that collaborated will take the

successes and lessons learned as we continue to grow our work. Specifically:

 

 Planting Justice will continue to offer P2R graduates ongoing case management

services, peer mentorship, healing circles, community building via food sharing and social

events, and opportunities to participate in social justice organizing related to issues

impacting incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people in CA.

 

 Planting Justice will continue to create living-wage jobs for formerly incarcerated men and

women in permaculture design and garden installation services, food justice education,

and grassroots organizing

 

 Earthseed Consulting will continue to design culturally relevant permaculture curriculum

and grow access for more diverse communities in the field of permaculture and

ecological design. This will be done partly by growing the capacity of the black

permaculture network.

 

 Earthseed Consulting will continue to offer inspiring and impact driven social

entrepreneur training for diverse communities.

 

 The Green Life will continue to work inside and outside of prisons leading peer education

programs and facilitating healing and regenerative circles of support for the reentry

community.

 

 Our graduate, permaculture apprentice and program peer mentor Region Pennington

Lewis is starting his own program called “Fresh Out’ that will continue the work he and his

family have done around community organizing, permaculture design and farming, and

culturally relevant re entry practices.

 

 

All of us at P2R want to thank everyone again for all of the support and love that has flowed to

this project to help it be as successful as it was. Anyone can continue to support this work by

connecting with any of the partners named above, following us on Facebook and also sharing any

relevant opportunities that P2R graduates may appreciate (those can be shared

with debra@plantingjustice.org).

 

In Solidarity

Pathway to Resilience team

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