The possibilities for an ethical and environmentally sustainable prison farm program are endless, limited only by imagination and political will. Beginning in 2016, Evolve Our Prison Farms proposed a model of innovative plant-based agriculture (ideally producing food for prisoners and communities in need) while offering animal-assisted therapy as other prisons have done. In 2021, Evolve Our Prison Farms published an academic report, Canada’s proposed prison farm program: Why it won’t work and what would work better.
If prison farms can no longer feed prisoners, then the program should have a social justice focus. For example: generating produce for northern Indigenous communities; supplying hospitals, military bases or food banks.
Prison farms can contribute to local food security and agricultural innovation through labour-intensive organic permaculture and agroforestry, fruit and nut tree plantations, and production of nutrient-dense vegetables. Fundamentally, prison farms should prioritize ecological sustainability, human health, food security, and fiscal responsibility. They should provide opportunities for prisoners that offer education, life skills, and job skills relevant for reintegration into a society that is increasingly concerned with issues of climate change, public health and animal welfare, and where job opportunities continue to grow rapidly developing green economies.