An old and abandoned prison in North Carolina has been refurbished into a sustainable vegetable farm. The nonprofit Growing Change is doing good by bringing in young men on the edge of ending up into the criminal justice system and jobless veterans returning home from deployment.

Growing Change nonprofit doing good helping at-risk youth

Growing Change helps instill discipline and leadership to at-risk youth, who are here to fulfill hours of community service. These youth can learn life skills, farming practices, and animal husbandry.

Growing Change founder Noran Sanford told Civil Eats “North Carolina is one of the last two states in which youth are adjudicated as adults for all charges at age 16,” “By the time some 16 year-olds arrive in the courts they are permanently limited in their employment due to their ‘adult’ criminal record.”

Sanford started bringing in men facing issues at home, school failures, mental health, or substance abuse troubles, to help them before they enter the criminal justice system. According to Growing Change,  flipping these prisons and their intensive therapy has lead to an almost 92% reduction in the recidivism rate.

Growing Change good deeds are bringing hope to dark places

Growing Change has a unique capacity to reform a number of societal areas.  It’s a rare ability among nonprofit work. As they improve individual lives, it also benefits the counties they operate in. Many of these counties are dealing with poor health outcomes, because of diets consisting of mainly processed food. This is because many have no locally grown produce.

The incarceration rate declining is allowing North Carolina to shutter prisons and correctional facilities across the state. This is letting those buildings being repurposed into education and art centers. The prisons are the perfect areas for farms because of their sheep proof fences and large open areas.

It’s great to see nonprofits helping those in trouble, avoid falling into the prison system. Instead they are giving them the opportunity to grow as a person while learning skills that will help them.


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