An old adage says it all. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Instead of assisting folk to renter a society that was not created for them initially, we are opening a window for participants to create their own world by becoming self-sufficient.
Freedom Plow provides services to any young person between the ages of 16 and 32 years of age who is returning from prison as well as foster care, including cross-over youth (i.e. youth that have experienced foster care and incarceration/detention). Additionally, Freedom Plow provides long-term housing, health & well-being support and a network of credible messengers that can help guide them. Freedom Plow will work in partnership with various city agencies, including the Department of Planning and Economic Development to secure ownership of foreclosed and abandoned city-owned properties that are available for purchase. Our partnerships will allow Freedom Plow to create a community land trust for the benefit of young people impacted by the prison system. As such, Freedom Plow will be a unique program in Jackson, particularly, and Mississippi as a whole, filling the growing housing gap that currently exists for our most vulnerable young people.
Freedom Plow is also committed to the restoration of individuals and families who have been torn apart and disenfranchised due to drug and/or alcohol abuse, incarceration, unemployment, homelessness and other social and economic conditions. It is committed to providing education, training, and informing program participants of resources and opportunities which may prevent them from experiencing the collateral consequences of incarceration. Services proposed include job skills training, life skills training, referrals for temporary and long-term housing, connection to social benefit services such as government assisted food programs, social security, health care and assistance in obtaining an identification card upon release from prison.
Going far beyond the traditional reentry approach of informing and referring said population, Freedom Plow is committed to providing them with actual economic tools to provide for themselves, develop economic mobility and generational wealth. We will provide participants with land, home ownership, a personal garden, land cultivation skills, and a community of support from credible messengers who have survived the criminal system and can relate to their trauma and potential for healing. Each member will receive permanent – not temporary – housing, the ability to produce food for themselves (relying less on cash capital), and principles of collective work and responsibility (creating a culture of care for each other and the world through popular education, health and well-being activities, and training on the principles of cooperative economics.) In so doing, we will provide our members with the basic needs that all people deserve – shelter, food, and dignity.