Carceral Food System

  • What should prison food look like?

    Heile Gantan and Wayne Williams respond, recorded at the 2021 F2iSummit. 4 mins.

  • New England prisons and jails serve thousands of meals each day. FINE is building our network in the carceral sector to explore its potential for sourcing local food. We are researching food budgets, costs, sourcing, onsite gardens and farms, workforce development, and reentry programs. We are convening stakeholders, and developing tools, in the hopes of better serving the incarcerated population, which is comprised disproportionately of black men. 

    FINE has received two grants to complete comprehensive landscape assessments in New England. We are grateful to have support from The Cotyledon Fund which will focus on the Vermont carceral food system, and from The Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation which will focus on better understanding the carceral food system in Massachusetts.


    1. Build the Network
    2. Conduct Research
    3. Create Tools & Disseminate Resources
    4. Convene Stakeholders
    5. Pursue Funding Opportunities

    FINE Strategic Plan & Strategy Filter

  • What can people do to foster change?

    Heile Gantan and Wayne Williams respond, recorded at the 2021 F2iSummit. 3 mins.

  • 3 Takeaways from prison food study, with Leslie Soble, recorded at the 2021 F2iSummit. 10 mins.

  • Gardening in a Carceral Context: A landscape assessment of Massachusetts county jail garden programs, 2022, a report from Smith College students.

    The Public Health Implications of Prison and Jail Food, Jessi Silverman, MSPH, RD with Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI),  Feb 21, 2023

    Jail-to-Farm-to-College & Employment Pathways This 2016 report prepared by Abrah Dresdale explores opportunities for Franklin County House of Corrections in Greenfield, MA, to expand their current gardening, academic, and wellness programmatic offerings. 

    Victory Bus Project: Helping Kids With Imprisoned Parents This 2015 story by Kelly Seiz describes how a partnership between bussing and a Hudson Valley farm has resulted in New York State children being better connected to their imprisoned parents, as well as getting access to fresh produce. 

    College Behind Bars, This four-part PBS documentary directed by Lynn Novick and produced by Ken Burns, tells the story of incarcerated men and women struggling to earn college degrees and turn their lives around in one of the most rigorous and effective prison education programs in the US - the Bard Prison Initiative. 


    More Resources:

    Farm to Institution Resource Database

  • Carceral Advisory Group

    We are deeply grateful to the members of the FINE Carceral Advisory Group who help provide advice on the direction of FINE’s programs, research, and policy advocacy in the carceral sector. 

    Wayne Williams, Project Manager, Community-Based Programming at The Food Trust
    Rebekah Mende, VTI Sustainability, Maine State Prison
    Theresa Snow, Executive Director, Salvation Farms
    Ben Martin, VT Commodity Manager, Salvation Farms
    Natalie Weisfeld, MS, RD, LDN, USDA SNAP-Ed, University of Rhode Island
    Kate Lacouture, Co-founder & Executive Director, Garden Time
    Cara Santino, Food Entrepreneurship Director at City Seed Incubator
    Heather Newcomb, Women's Program Manager, Justice Services, Vermont Works for Women
    Kimberly Acosta, Food Policy Analyst, City of New Haven's Food System Policy Division
    Leah Wang, Research Analyst, Prison Policy Initiative
    Heile Gantan, Program Associate, Food In Prison, Impact Justice
    Leslie Soble, Senior Program Manager, Food In Prison, Impact Justice
    Jessi Silverman, Policy Associate, Center for Science in the Public Interest 
    Shaunia Flowers, farmer, USDA grant reviewer, food advocate
    Gina Clithero, Farm to Institution Program Manager, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets 
    Kanav Kathuria, Maryland Food & Abolition Project
    Wendy Chen, Vermont Law School
    Laurie Beyranevand, Vermont Law School
    Melissa Motejunas, Strategic Accounts Manager, Native Maine Produce
    Colin Freeman, Program Chef, Brigaid & Maine Department of Corrections

  • Community of Practice

    FINE convenes Food Service Directors from the Department of Corrections with representation from every New England state. This community of practice works to share ideas and best practices, talk through challenges; seek advice; develop collaborations; organize site visits to different New England correctional facilities and offer peer support in service of increasing values based regional supply chains.

  • Stay in Touch

    If you would like to participate in this work, or have a story, resource, or contact related to the carceral food system to share, email Peter Allison,

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