By Michael Twiggs, Founder & Principal, Garden of Eden Urban Farming
When I returned to college in 2011, my perspective was very different from my classmates.
As a seasoned IT professional with over 40 years experience, I was more concerned about the problems I wanted to solve than what I wanted to be or do for a living upon graduation.
In 2013, I graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies. The interdisciplinary learning experience included related Sciences, Technologies, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics (STE@M).
Common problems and challenges in inner-city communities, nationwide include the following:
● Access to fresh fruits and vegetables
● Quality of the food, and
● Food insecurity
Indoor Agriculture, using hydroponics, is one answer to a complex set of problems. It is an important part of a sustainable long-term solution.
NO SUN. NO SOIL. NO PROBLEM.
“Inside/Outside” is a transition program that begins inside the institution with training and education in Indoor Farming and related technologies.
Participants learn skills needed to grow nutritious fruits and vegetables inside the institution all year round.
“No sun. No soil. No problem.” The design of this program is rooted in the reality that the transition from “Inside” the institution to “Outside” is fraught with pitfalls. These obstacles contribute to higher levels of poverty, crime and recidivism.
Access to jobs, housing and other social and economic opportunities can really make a difference. We make it so.
Inmates learn to grow fruits and vegetables that are consumed “Inside” the facility and upon release are hired to grow fruits and vegetables in the same manner on the “Outside” – “Inside/Outside”. Green jobs for skilled workers using what was learned inside the institution is the goal.
The unique thing about this program is the intentional development of both “inside” and “outside” components of the training program.
The third phase of the learning experience is also within reach for many of the inmates that participate in the program. Small business funding for entrepreneurs is available for program participants with knowledge and experience in Indoor Agriculture.
WHAT IS “INSIDE/OUTSIDE”
“Inside/Outside” is a transition program. The goal is to develop a common set of skills and abilities for Indoor Farming that are useful “INSIDE” and “OUTSIDE” the facility. Successful completion of the training program inside qualifies participants for entry level jobs outside. Both inside and outside components are parts of the same program. They are one; two sides of the same coin; funded by the (DOC/SBA) at startup.
Upon their release, former inmates are employed by the “OUTSIDE” component of the program with benefits and market wages for green jobs. The responsibility to rehabilitate and provide access to employment opportunities needed for successful transition back into society is what sets “INSIDE/OUTSIDE” apart from many other programs.
Structured learning experiences teach the science, technologies, engineering and math (STEM) required to plant, nurture, grow and harvest fresh leafy greens, herbs and microgreens from “Seed to Table”.
SEED TO TABLE
Upon release, employment is the second phase of the program “Outside” using the same skills and abilities learned “Inside”.
Completion of the program “Inside” qualifies former inmates for employment “Outside” with salary and benefits as
- Leafy Greens/Herbs
LEAFY GREEN MACHINE
HOW TO GROW MICROGREENS – START TO FINISH
GROW HYDROPONIC FODDER IN 7 DAYS
Garden of Eden Contact Information:
149 S. 140th St, #222
Seattle, WA 98168