From Manchester, Renee Rosensteel partnered with residents of the Riverside Community Corrections Center to build a garden using permaculture within the walls of a prison in the Chateau neighborhood. Residents took responsibility for the care of the garden inside the Riverside CCC courtyard. After tending the garden all summer, the men of Riverside CCC harvested the produce for use in their shared kitchen. Experiencing healthy eating, self-reliance, and sustainability first-hand helped the men prepare for successful reintegration into society. Peer learning and mentoring were encouraged through gardening workshops, build raised beds, plant, care for, and harvest the garden in addition to being given a library of gardening books.
“I hadn’t realized the power of gardens to conjure memories –memories of times in life that were simpler and sweeter,” said project leader Renee Rosensteel. “Many immediately connected the metaphor of growing and nurturing plants with their own re-emergence into society.”