Benevolence residential reentry program supports women leaving the North Carolina prison system by offering housing, employment, career development, and agricultural skill building. This farm-based social enterprise combines the health and healing of nature with the critical resources and knowledge needed for success. Participants grow their own food and generate income through harvest sales, building transferable skills in marketing, finance, customer relations and small business management.
3,158 women were released from NC prisons in 2016. Of those, 2/3 will be re-arrested and 1/2 will be re-incarcerated within 2 years. Two of the biggest factors in determining a woman's success post-incarceration is her access to safe housing and employment, but research has shown that a criminal conviction becomes a serious barrier to success in achieving these milestones. There is a clear need for programs for women in these crucial areas as they seek to become productive members of society.
Benevolence Farm seeks to fulfill this crucial need in North Carolina through an innovative social enterprise-based program. Residents live and work on a 13-acre farm for up to two years and develop valuable, easily transferable employment skills by growing their own food and selling produce through a self-administered Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program & wholesale accounts with area restaurants and grocery cooperatives.
Our vision is that the women at Benevolence Farm will not only be transforming their personal stories but that their success will inspire them to support hundreds of other formerly incarcerated women on the local and state level. In addition to providing an alternative to mass incarceration, we also hope to promote health and healing of all women by helping to build a more sustainable food system throughout North Carolina.