Cultivating Dreams – An Organic Garden for Women in Prison at CIW

Cultivating Dreams – An Organic Garden for Women in Prison at CIW

Within the California Institution for Women, a women’s correctional facility located in Corona, California, a student-run nonprofit organization called Cultivating Dreams helps incarcerated women tend to an organic garden.

This dynamic program is a collaborative effort of volunteers from the Claremont College community, and both students and women inside the prison work together to manage and maintain the gardens. All of the fresh produce goes right into the kitchen of the prison, where the women get the rewards of being able to eat healthy organic food that they have grown.

“It is our hope that the garden will create a therapeutic and restorative space within the prison.”

The women who work in the garden have added benefits of exercise, sunshine, and fresh air, giving them the wonderful therapy of working with the soil and living plants.

The garden is completely organic and uses sustainable agricultural practices. Many of these practices and skills that the women learn can be used in the future as employable skills.

Future plans for Cultivating Dreams include education workshops and classes on biodynamic gardening, nutrition, environmentalism, and women’s health issues. Expansion of the heirloom garden is being planned as well, which will help improve the women’s diets. Fruit orchards are also being planned.

Cultivating Dreams is also part of the Center for Restorative Justice works, which works closely with families of incarcerated prisoners.

Funding for Cultivating Dreams is provided by grants and donations.