Meet some of our graduates
“The program made me a better person. Now that I’m out, I’m more active in the community and in work. When the garden is planted, and the work is done, and the vegetables grow, it brings a lot of people together. That’s the way community grows.”
I joined IGP because I wanted to do something different and make a change in my community so that I could help when I left prison. I just wanted to learn something new so I could help somebody else. Learning about different plants and herbs inspired me. There were a lot of herbs that I didn’t know about. Plants can help you a lot. There’s actually stuff you can grow that can cure the problem. Knowing that it is actually good for the body, I try to eat healthier and set a good example for others in my community.
I was going through a rough time in my life, and IGP helped pull me out of anger issues. I’m more caring than I was in the past. When I’m having problems or having a bad time, I take some time to meditate and try not to stress about it.
“IGP gave me a fresh start to start my life over. It gave me hope again.”
Before I got involved with IGP, I didn’t have a whole lot of hope. I was going to have to go back to the same place I’ve been living for the last 30 years, and it was not a good situation.
I got involved in IGP and got introduced to Beth and Planting Justice and saw a little glimmer of hope. They offered me a job in the Bay Area and that gave me a chance to change my lifestyle and my living situation.
It gave me knowledge about landscaping and permaculture which helped me with my hands-on training with Planting Justice, and the knowledge I already had about construction and building, with all that tied together, makes my job really fun for me.
They’ve given me a chance to change my life, and I’ve grabbed it and ran with it.
“It’s like a new family because they care for you and they help you in so many ways. Going to the Insight Garden Program helped me achieve the things I wanted and helped me find structure in my life.”
When I had the opportunity in prison, I took that chance with IGP, and it was the chance to change my life. After I went home, through connections with the IGP, I was fortunate enough to have a job waiting for me. And that job changed my life as well.
When I came out of prison after six years of a ten year sentence, I said I would do something different this time, and I would give myself a chance. Meditating, calming down and thinking before I react changed me. I learned skills to manage the things that try me.
“Everything changed because I changed my mind about how I looked at everything.”
The plants in the garden inspired me. The rest of the yard is full of men and officers and some workout equipment and then there’s a little corner that’s a world away from all of that. I saw the plants just being plants, digging the sunshine. I made a connection with them. I was glad to share that part of my life with them.
I changed so much from the time that I entered prison to the time that I left. I learned a lot about the environment. IGP’s biology teacher, Mark Stefanski, was one of the best teachers I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a room with. He sparked interest in how I look at the time I have been on earth, how long the earth has been here, our impact, and our society’s impact on the planet.