My project is the pilot "The Family Farm." Working with the Union Project in the East End, The Family Farm will be established on the property surrounding their community space on North Negley Avenue. We are in the process of permaculturally designing the space, now. The farm will host 4-5 parent-child teams made up of parents returning from incarceration and the child(ren) left behind. Over the course of a growing season, the teams will work together to learn, grow produce, cook, eat, and heal together. The Union Project additionally provides a space for programming.
Outside of lots designated for the participants own growing choices, the Farm will grow high value items which an local juice company has committed to purchasing. Additionally, mushrooms and artisan hot peppers will be grown for farmers market entrepreneurial experience.
The farm is one component of a larger mindfulness/urban agriculture/prison re-entry/workforce development project which is developing between community corrections, local service organizations, communities, and employers. Successful community membership and enriching gainful employment are end project goals.
"The Family Farm" Union Project location is a pilot for a larger, similar venture in Garfield. Partners include: Maria Garziani, the founder/owner of Healcrest; Renewal Inc, western PA's largest community correctional facility; Dr. Matt Keener, mindfulness-focused integrative psychiatrist and director of emotional health for the #1 iTunes healthcare app on the planet, Doctors on Demand; and others. The intent is to convert Healcrest Farm, an organic herb farm in Garfield, into a workforce development/training space for those exiting the prison-industrial complex machine while growing pre-contracted, organic, high value items for an organic juice company, custom tea blends, local chefs, value-added processing, farmer's market sales, and other pathways to sustainability.
If it is up to me, we will make really hot hot sauce.
Funded by Pittsburgh, PA (February 2016)