Farm to Corrections

FINE is expanding our work -- and network -- in the Farm to Corrections arena. If this is a topic of interest to you or your organization, we want to know. Please contact [email protected] to be sure we include you in Farm to Corrections outreach.

What can people do - inside and outside prison - to foster change? Heile Gantan and Wayne Williams respond [3:12], recorded at the F2iSummit:

Correctional facilities in New England 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 farm to corrections in Vermont and from The Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation which will focus on better understanding the carceral food system in Massachusetts.

Corrections Sector Goals

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

FINE Strategic Plan & Strategy Filter

What should prison food look like? Heile Gantan and Wayne Williams respond [3:59], recorded at the F2iSummit:

Farm to Corrections Research & Resources

Would you like to add a project or publication here? Contact Sarah Lyman, [email protected].


3 Takeaways from prison food study, with Leslie Soble [10:28], recorded at the F2iSummit:

 

Cover of report with illustration of mess hall, men in orange jumpsuits eating off trays

Eating Behind Bars: Ending the Hidden Punishment of Food in Prison is the first national investigation of its kind. This six-part report explores the inequities and troubling trends in prison food, centering the perspectives of people who have been incarcerated while also examining food services policies and practices that affect more than 1.3 million people incarcerated in state prisons nationwide.


Recent News

New York Prisons Set to Ban Most Packages from Family and FriendsNew York Focus, May 12, 2022

The Invisible Violence of Carceral Food, Kanav Kathuria, Inquest, Jan 4, 2022

Correction spending rises while incarcerated population declines in Massachusetts, WBUR, Jan 4, 2022

PA state legislator Stephen Kinsey announced he will be introducing a resolution commissioning a study of the “nutritional value of food and incarcerated individuals’ health conditions” in State Correctional Institutions, Nov 29, 2021

Philadelphia Improves Food Options in Correctional Facilities, CDC, Nov 18, 2021

Improving the Food Environment in Washington State–Run Correctional Facilities: The Healthy Commissary Project, American Journal of Public Health, Aug 31, 2021

Farm-to-table: A Maine prison program provides better food for inmates - News Center Maine, August 19, 2021

Shining Light on Humanity - Enduring the “Hidden Punishment” of Prison Food - May 24, 2021 article in Mainer

The ‘Hidden Punishment’ of Prison Food - March 2, 2021 opinion piece in The New York Times

Massachusetts Bill includes a short provision on nutrition in addition to other reforms to Massachusetts state prisons, 2021

Food Package Guide for NYS Correctional Facilities, 2021

Nutrition in Midwestern State Department of Corrections Prisons: A Comparison of Nutritional Offerings With Commonly Utilized Nutritional Standards, Journal of Correctional Health Care, 2021

Feeding Incarcerated People in a Pandemic: How One Maine Prison Is Adapting, Farm to Institution New England, Aug 2020

Food at Mountain View Correctional Facility, Maine (Flickr Photo Album)

Mountain View Correctional Facility providing food for themselves and community, WABI5, 2019 

Mass Incarceration: A Major Cause of Hunger, Bread for the World, Feb 2018

Correcting Food Policy in Washington PrisonsPrison Voice Washington, 2016

Massachusetts Executive Order establishes nutrition standards for food purchased and served by state agencies, 2009


Webinars & Recordings

Prison Labor and the Need for Transparency, October 6, 2021 (webinar) Was the food on your plate grown or produced by incarcerated people? We don’t really know. In this webinar hosted by FINE, senior staff reporter Claire Brown at The Counter addresses some of the questions spurred by this lack of transparency in her "Sourced From Inside" three-part series. The series was recently recognized by Online Journalism Awards, as a finalist in the “explanatory reporting, small newsroom” categories. For those interested in the ethical procurement of food, supporting food workers, and supply chain transparency, this webinar provides important context for your efforts. 

Open Forum on COVID-19 & Corrections, June 11, 2020 (webinar) This online forum connected those who work at the intersection of the food and carceral systems. Mark McBrine, Food Service Manager for the Maine Department of Corrections (DOC) at Mountain View Correctional Facility, gave an update on their efforts to source local food previously destined for restaurants and processors to the facility food service operation. Leslie Soble, Research Fellow with Impact Justice, gave an update on her national research exploring trends in carceral meal service as a result of COVID-19. We recognize that not all of those invested in the corrections sector were represented during the forum, including people who are currently or formerly incarcerated, and people of color, especially black men, who disproportionately represent the incarcerated population. We are eager to expand this network. Please send us suggestions and offer introductions so we can include more voices in future forums.


Reports, Research & Organizations

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. 

The Fife and Drum Restaurant, located at Northeastern Correctional Center in Concord, MA, is open to the public and is used as a culinary arts program for the inmates housed at the facility. Address: 976 Barretts Mill Road, West Concord, MA 01742,  Phone: (978) 371-7941

The Tufts University Prison Initiative of the Tisch College of Civic Life brings Tufts faculty and students together with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, corrections staff, educators, and scholars of criminal justice to facilitate creative and collaborative responses to the problems of mass incarceration.

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 Iniative. 

 


Events

Conference on Social & Ecological Infrastructure for Recidivism Reduction (remote) - March 18-21, 2021

Northeast Farm to Institution Summit (remote) - April 1, 8, 15, 2021


Stay in Touch

Want to If you have a corrections-related story, resource, or contact, we would love to hear it. Email Peter Allison, [email protected].

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With Gratitude to the Corrections Advisory Group 

These members of the FINE Corrections Advisory Group - although no longer active - were instrumental in getting FINE's farm to corrections projects off the ground.

  • Jocelyn Apicello, Urban Farming and Sustainability Faculty Advisor, Bard Prison Initiative 
  • Abrah Dresdale, Regenerate Change Consultant & Franklin County Jail Farm & Food Program
  • Tony Hall, Garden Educator, Franklin County Jail
  • Sophia Kruszewski, Clinic Director & Assistant Professor, Vermont Law School
  • Mark McBrine, Food Service Manager for the Maine Department of Corrections at Mountain View Correctional Facility
  • Bryan Mitofsky, Food Service Management, Vermont Department of Corrections
  • Renee Page, Assistant Director, Healthy Communities of the Capital Area, Maine Farm to School and Institution
  • Renee Portanova, Co-Founder & Director, The New Garden Society 
  • Theresa Snow, Founder/Executive Director, Salvation Farms
  • Leslie Soble, Research Fellow - Food in Prison, Impact Justice
  • Emily Whittier, Student Clinician, Vermont Law School 
  • Alex Zipparo, Independent Community Development Specialist