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When prisoners in the San Francisco County Jail asked to remain in jail beyond their release date, prison authorities, Sheriff Hennessy, and Cathrine Sneed who started the gardening program that prisoners did not want to leave, - all realized that they had created a success, a model, or a mystery.
Cathrine Sneed credits John Steinbeck. In Grapes of Wrath he writes that there is hope, even in abject poverty, as long as the connection to the land can be restored.
The way in which she has connected land, the growing of organic food, and the resolution to hunger, addiction, unhealthy food, and crime, has become a model not just for prisons, but for society at large.
The 1992 Garden Project just celebrated its 30th anniversary. It started inside the County jail ten years earlier - but Cathrine Sneed moved the project beyond the prison walls to connect with released prisoners and then with youth before they even became involved with the Law. And that is the important difference to prison garden project elsewhere. Most of them remain isolated behind prison walls and released prisoners have no easy way to connect with land and food.
I first met Cathrine Sneed at the annual Eco Farm conference in Asilomar, CA in 1998. She had been asked to give the opening night address to organic farmers and gardeners. This is a rebroadcast of that event.