Collective launches ‘Earthseed’ – a new garden program for formerly incarcerated Black people
Created in collaboration with the Black Inmates and Friends Association, Toronto Black Farmers and Growers Collective, and Keep6ix, Black Lives Matter – Canada has established a re-entry support program at Wildseed Centre for Art and Activism.
Launched on March 28, Earthseed Community Garden Program builds on established programming led by Toronto Black Farmers and Keep6ix. An abolitionist experiment, the program is grounded in commitments to Black food justice, equitable employment, community support, political education, and self-expression through art.
“Through a combination of paid and volunteer opportunities, we are excited to extend our support, creating a space for land-based community engagement alongside formerly incarcerated Black people,” said Jessica Kirk, Black Lives Matter – Canada’s Executive Director.
Formerly incarcerated Black people face numerous barriers resulting from racism, stigma, violence, and trauma upon reentry. Through programming and access to trauma-informed support networks, Earthseed is working with formerly incarcerated Black people to build community for those returning from incarceration. Additionally, Earthseed’s harvest will feed its neighbours, offering free access to a community fridge. Creating a space for formerly incarcerated Black people to find support and reconnect is a necessary step towards healing and building networks of collective care.
Jacqueline from Toronto Black Farmers and Growers Collective said, “The earth grows everything we need. Here, it provides empowerment through therapy, healing and nourishment to those tending to it with love and kindness. This supports us giving back to others in a humane, caring and humble way.
Richard Miller from Keep6ix stated that, “Providing support to formerly incarcerated Black people that is based in an ethic of love, mutual aid, and collective care, can help create systems that empower individuals to not only thrive professionally but to also work towards personal healing.”
Black Lives Matter – Canada is a national network that resources and supports grassroots Black liberation efforts from coast to coast to coast.