Date of Graduation
Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)
College of Arts and Sciences
As community gardens become more prevalent across the country, do they have more to offer than ensuring communities have access to fresh produce? While a vital part of their mission, some grassroots and nonprofit organizations see gardening as an avenue to counteract and work against systems of food and social inequality. Planting Justice, a grassroots organization located in Oakland, use gardening as a tool for reintegrating prisoners back into the community, and ensure these ex-offenders do not return to prison. Planting Justice also engages with the forces of gentrification, working to coopt the systems of divestment and inequality to create a more equal and harmonious food and social system. I argue that gardening, and the structure of Planting Justice, create a positive, healing atmosphere that allows ex-offenders to reintegrate back into the community and removes barriers that could potentially lead them to returning to prison down the line. As a vehicle of social justice, food is a powerful tool to create equality, and Planting Justice works to harness that ability to combat high recidivism rates and environmental dispossession within the Bay Area. I find that through community engagement, education and a commitment to their staff, Planting Justice creates a community within their organization that improves the reintegrative process of formerly incarcerated individuals while pushing against social forces of dispossession.
Sharp, Ian, "Growing Community: Planting Justice, Prisoner Reintegration and Community Gardening" (2020). Master's Theses. 1280.