Insight Garden Program

Timeline of Accomplishments


  • Started at San Quentin State Prison under the Insight Prison Project, Fall 2002 (in classroom)
  • Beth Waitkus begins graduate research project


  • IGP builds the first organic flower garden on an open prison yard at San Quentin
  • Beth’s research continues via pre-and post garden interviews with participants and staff


  • Agape Foundation becomes fiscal sponsor, and officially the garden program becomes the “Insight Garden Program”
  • Beth completes graduate thesis research, “Impact of a Garden on the Physical Environment and Social Climate of a Prison Yard at San Quentin State Prison”




  • First proposal submitted for vegetable garden (taking 5 years for approval)
  • Peace Development Fund becomes IGP’s fiscal sponsor


  • Planting Justice begins collaboration with IGP as reentry partner
  • IGP is featured in KQED’s California Report
  • In collaboration with the California Reentry Program, the IGP co-hosts the first Green Career Fair in a California State prison and Contra Costa Times publishes article: “California Inmates See Green During Job Fair” by Mark Prado
  • IGP presents to Marin Academy and recruits students to do internships


  • Beth featured in book: EcoAmazons – 20 Women Who are Transforming the World by Dorka Keehn
  • Collaboration begins between IGP, Planting Justice and Rubicon Programs for Transitional Eco-Reentry Program


  • San Quentin Warden approves vegetable garden and plans begin for implementation
  • IGP co-hosts another Green Career fair with California Reentry Program, featured in Marin Independent Journal and SF Chronicle article, “What it Means to be Green In Prison” by Leah Garchik



  • IGP receives start-up funding, and 501c3 non-profit status is obtained
  • CA State Senator Loni Hancock an Assembly member Reggie Jones Sawyer (along with CDCR officials from Sacramento) visit the IGP at San Quentin
  • IGP and Planting Justice donate first vegetable garden harvest to Marin Community Food Bank
  • Programming starts at Solano State Prison in Vacaville, CA
  • IGP begins curriculum redesign for replication
  • Lisa Benham completes research study “From Utility to Significance: Exploring Ecological Connections, Ethics, and Personal Transformation through a Gardening and Environmental Literacy Program at San Quentin State Prison”


  • CSP-SOL garden installed
  • Curriculum revisions completed, resulting in a year’s worth of lesson plans
  • IGP expands staffing and volunteers to accommodate prison expansion
  • With CDCR funding, IGP launches program on CSP-LAC, Yard B as well as CMF
  • IGP is mentioned in several media outlets, including The Washington Post, Psychology Today, and Huffington Post Live


  • Partnership with Hawthorne Valley Farms and Bard Prison Initiative in New York begins to serve people in reentry with IGP curriculum
  • In Indiana, IGP launches programs at first juvenile facility (LJCF), and Indiana State Prison
  • Garden is installed at CMF
  • IGP launches program at CSP-LAC Yard A and California Health Care Facility
  • Through Kalliopeia Foundation, IGP joins collaborative Transformative Prison Workgroup (TPW)


  • Garden installed at CSP-LAC Yard A
  • Beth testifies about “Greening Prisons: Reinvestment in People and Programs” before Senate Subcommittee #5 on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary
  • Gardens are built in Indiana facilities, as well as CDCF in California
  • IGP launches new programs at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), and Folsom Women’s Facility (FWF), as well as Avenal State Prison in the Central Valley
  • Through CalEPA Grant, IGP and men in reentry do environmental stewardship community projects
  • Insight Garden Program Turns 15!!!