Pickles not Prisons

by Katie Willis | Apr 03, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

Start a cohort of urban farms in the city on vacant lots (after first talking with each community). The organization would extend the idea of being an equal opportunity employer and not discriminate on the basis of jail time. Each farm site could be run by a member of its community and serve as platforms and centers art and advocacy. Members of the farms would both work to create a more sustainable food system in St. Paul, while also working to bring awareness about the racism and discrimination present in our justice system specifically through mass incarceration. These farms would then sell their produce back to the community through Community Support Agriculture and farmers markets, where all products are priced on a sliding income scale. This service would not only boost the St. Paul economy by keeping money within the city and providing jobs to residents, but would also work to provide healthy, local, and sustainably grown food to people who might otherwise not have access or ability to purchase it. The farms would not only employ people to work in the fields and markets, but would work to create a line of value-added products, such as pickles, jams, jellies, and relishes. And would eventually provide educational opportunities for adults and children alike, in the classroom, kitchen, and garden. Students would learn not only about nutrition, food, and farming, but about social justice and identity are woven into the our current food politics.

About You

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About You

First Name

Katie

Last Name

Willis

City

Minneapolis

County

Hennepin

Country

United States, MN, Hennepin County

Website (if you have one)

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

Lily Andrews

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

Kurt Hager

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

Organization Website

Organization Phone

Organization Address

City

Organization Country

United States

Your idea

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Title of your idea

Pickles not Prisons

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

Start a cohort of urban farms in the city on vacant lots (after first talking with each community). The organization would extend the idea of being an equal opportunity employer and not discriminate on the basis of jail time. Each farm site could be run by a member of its community and serve as platforms and centers art and advocacy. Members of the farms would both work to create a more sustainable food system in St. Paul, while also working to bring awareness about the racism and discrimination present in our justice system specifically through mass incarceration. These farms would then sell their produce back to the community through Community Support Agriculture and farmers markets, where all products are priced on a sliding income scale. This service would not only boost the St. Paul economy by keeping money within the city and providing jobs to residents, but would also work to provide healthy, local, and sustainably grown food to people who might otherwise not have access or ability to purchase it. The farms would not only employ people to work in the fields and markets, but would work to create a line of value-added products, such as pickles, jams, jellies, and relishes. And would eventually provide educational opportunities for adults and children alike, in the classroom, kitchen, and garden. Students would learn not only about nutrition, food, and farming, but about social justice and identity are woven into the our current food politics.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

Though the urban farm movement is not new to the Twin Cities, the idea of employing people who've spent time in our prison systems and become part of a vicious cycle of racism and classism is unique. Everyday convicted felons face discrimination in all walks of life: finding a job, gaining public assistance, and acquiring housing. Through this program we would work to empower those disenfranchised by our "justice" system, while also working within our communities to expel racism and work to change the practices in our current legislation. Working to dismantle neo-liberal ideas and seek true justice for those who have been imprisoned are radical ideas and often touchy subjects, but these programs would allow the silenced gain the agency to speak for themselves and reintegrate into society.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

St. Paul is already working toward a more just employment sector; discrimination based on criminal background is now longer allowed in city and county hiring. But other industries can still legally obtain criminal history and must just use "good faith" when deciding what questions to ask. It has been proven that despite our best efforts to remain impartial, we have been socialized to hold certain biases around race, class, and criminal background. Pickles not Prisons (PNP) would revitalize the job sector, the economy, and the environment. 16% of those imprisoned in Minnesota are from St. Paul and 40% of prisoners are from the Twin Cities metro region. Assuming those people move back home after their release, PNP would work toward reintegrating those citizens into society.

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

If not to seek social justice and create compassion and understanding around those who have been in the prison system, Pickles not Prisons would inspire people to use urban and community farming as a tool for social change and community organizing. Food is essential to life. Everyday many people go hungry in this country and around the world. Hungry for change, many people could connect with Pickles not Prisons through its ability to unite the ordinary, everyday essentials (food) with the invisible and unwanted (ex-convicts and other disenfranchised "citizens"). Organizing gardens and farms around social justice provides avenues for people from all walks of life and various interests, be it getting dirty, teaching kids, or shouting from street corners and rooftops about the change a'comin.

Green Sutan said: Everything else that I see here reminds of something that would actually be in reality for some of that. - Adam LaFavre about this Competition Entry. - 2542 days ago read more >

Katie Willis updated this Competition Entry. - 2846 days ago

Katie Willis updated this Competition Entry. - 2846 days ago

Katie Willis updated this Competition Entry. - 2849 days ago

Katie Willis submitted this idea. - 2849 days ago