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Growing Justice: A Prison-based Vertical Farm Job Training Pilot in South Carolina

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $900,000)

Through $900,000 in grant funding under Category 2 of the Second Chance Act Improving Education and Employment Outcomes, Growing Justice will implement an innovative prison-based vertical farm job training program with employment matching and case management services for at least 75 women at Camille Graham Correctional Facility in Columbia, South Carolina. Led by Impact Justice (IJ), a national non-profit advancing equity and justice, this project will provide a specialized, 200-hr job training program and wraparound support, including legal assistance. Growing Justice will also feature a job matching program involving a minimum of five new partnerships with companies in the emerging controlled environment agriculture sector. South Carolina Department of Corrections will serve as the correctional partner, AmplifiedAg and Skout Strategy, Inc. will bring their subject matter expertise and resources to establish a vertical farming site on the prison grounds, and Root & Rebound will provide case management services pre and post-release. Project partners include organizations whose mission is to advance racial equity and provide support for underserved communities, and Growing Justice will remove barriers to living-wage employment in the agriculture sector for formerly incarcerated women, including women of color. Growing Justice will entail an assessment of the local demand for employees in the surrounding urban and rural areas in Richland County, South Carolina (where the target population is likely to reenter based on family ties or location of arrest), establish new employer connections in the agriculture sector (in which women have been historically underrepresented), conduct individualized career planning for participants to optimize reentry outcomes, track/monitor employment outcomes, and solicit community feedback to ensure that priority considerations (racial equity and removal of barriers to employment) are met. IJ has assembled its robust Growing Justice partnership to ensure the project goals and objectives are met, which include equipping participants with new job skills, career planning/job connections, and case management services to reduce the risk of recidivism after incarceration. As an added benefit, Growing Justice will produce nutrient-rich leafy greens, which will be used to supplement prison meals and address malnourishment issues stemming from a general lack of fresh, healthy food in prison. Growing Justice aims to serve as a sustainable reentry model for other prisons across the United States.

Date Created: September 25, 2023