Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2021

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Urban and Public Affairs


College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Sarah K. Burgess

Second Advisor

Novella Carpenter


Black and brown communities are over-incarcerated and are much more likely than their white counterparts to be involved with the criminal justice system. Hundreds of thousands of incarcerated people are released each year and they face substantial barriers to reentry such as lack of employment opportunities, difficulty securing housing, accessing education, and just simply reintegrating back into society. The criminal justice system within the United States is fueled by systemic racism and overt discrimination towards people of color, and the same can be said for the food system within the United States as well. They share a history of oppressive behavior against people of color, and both systems are built upon the foundations of white supremacy. This capstone project focuses on the role of agricultural reentry and how these types of programs empower and restore formerly incarcerated people to their communities. In this project, I argue that agricultural reentry programs attempt to restore individuals to their communities by drawing attention to and addressing both the social conditions that lead to criminality and the damaging (and often violent) effects of incarceration itself. Specifically, they foster an individual’s relationship to land and food as a way to restore a sense of self and to affirm an individual’s dignity and worth. Agricultural reentry programs present the opportunity to fix the very issues that lead people to incarceration in the first place.