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?"
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 and restorative justice
Living-Wage Employment for graduates
Social Entrepreneur training
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.
-Impact HUB Oakland will continue to offer inspiring and impact driven social entrepreneur training in partnership with re-entry service programs.
-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.