"They say slavery has been abolished but not for the convicted felon."
Well spoken and I certainly can not argue with this quote. After a lil more than a month here I'd even add beyond slavery, another human rights violation observed everyday is in the form of the food the inmates are forced to eat.
Seriously nasty, nasty stuff. Sure they are convicts, but still human beings.
Most have illness's, addiction, mental illness.
Most are not criminals coming in, only going out.
FDR believed food is a human right.
True, but the onus is also on the citizens to learn to grow food.
This reinforces responsibility, land stewardship, sustainability, community, grass roots economy and much more.
The weather is breaking, farm season is opening up with less frequent frost nights. The soil is warming up and my little tail wags to see tree buds morphing into leaves.
Today I mechanically carved out niches for an acre tater field, and about a 1/2 acres worth of onions, spinach, lettuces, carrots and "Hopi" White corn. Its good to be creative and use innovative strategies such as intercropping horticulture plants between standing wind rows of barley and rye.
Tomorrow we should be transplanting into the beds as well as be featured in the first part of a summer long series of stories which will be running in the Reno Gazette Journal.
Currently we are pumping water into our 200,000 gallon above ground irrigation pond created with nothing more than straw bales stacked 2 high, T-posts, reused fencing and way to thin pond liner which is bound to fail due to its thinness.
Despite the pond liner, Its Brilliant!!!
If all goes according to plan we will be collecting snow melt from the Sierra's until late July and then used in a gravity fed drip irrigation system for our vegetable crops.
On hot days I'd anticipate seeing incarcerated farmers running along in their boxers to cool off into the oasis. Our fat man has even offered the first belly flop.
Pretty rad place still, though working for my bosses is becoming more and more difficult due to their well….who knows.
However my incarcerated farmers are still incredibly loyal and hardworking. Though it is a prison farm, the real benefit for these guys is the open space w/out the hacks and good food we grow daily.
Its not easy, you can only expect so much output while paying 60 cents per hour. But you know the fact is they want to be out there, and they are 7 days a week, 8-12 hours per day.
In Carson I don't have any time left for personal things such as making normal friends so these guys are my friends. A motley crue for sure but you know we get along, I treat them decently, bring them food, work with them, and share a lot of laughs.
Though I am still not really being paid, my passion is the work. I even use half my monthly food stamps on the locked down farmers.
Gotta admit its weird being "boss", and I have to find balance between authority and friend. Some good advice was given recently by Michael O'Gorman who said, don't fire to much, but not to little either. So with that in mind….
A couple days ago, I caught a fella from the farm sneaking a few dozen eggs into the prison under his jacket. They are like gold on the inside, and there is a whole trade network based on this currency.
Sure I should have fired him but the man has been locked up for almost 20 years, most of it on the "hard" yards with murderers, rapists, etc. So I can't really say I blame him, I know it has been going on, but had no real proof.
Though he should have been canned, I decided to rip his ass, threaten banishment from the farm, but also show leniency. It worked. Taking away the only thing that matters to a man is a cruel exercise, he knows he did wrong.
Best part though, was that he shut down the whole smuggling ring. He went back into the prison and turned away all the business regardless of his peers threats for doing so. It meant more to be free a few hours a day than a criminal the rest.
Not to mention it also straightened out the other hooligans a little.
Come to think of it, it’s a bummer we won't see that fat guy belly flopping into the irrigation pond. Had t fire him to make an example despite being our best produce washer. But finding balance of firing to much or little was key. The man was screwing up by working too slow and eating too much food.
Damn he hated me afterwards, however I put a call in for him to his case manager and got him actually promoted to a better paying job at $1.50 per hour. All I had to say was that he was a stand up guy but I just didn't need him anymore.
Its funny, I have received hidden notes in school but never prison. He sent me one through the other inmates and thanked me as well as apologized for saying he was going to shank me as well as screw my girl friend.
When I wondered? Homey was on lock down.
Damn this place is fun. Really, what pleasure is there to be at the retail stand and deal with normal folk or some pimply kid trying to grow dope in his back yard. I can't say its fun either to grow for rich folk who can afford the best but seldom appreciate the workers who grow it.
I feed the common folk, inmates too apparently.