Sutter Health Community Benefit DIG DEEP FARMS

"This program, it's about empowering people, it's not just keeping people in a place where they're only getting a paycheck. It's about transition for folks who are looking to turn their life around." - Sarah Kirnon, Manager, Dig Deep Farms

"Why we're here and what we're going to do, it’s going to be monumental."

"The mission of Dig Deep Farm is to impact the community from a social justice point of view. We are going to change people's re-entry back into the population, people's relationship with food, and the footprint of Ashland/Cherryland in terms of employment."

"It's made so difficult for people who have been formerly incarcerated to really turn their lives around. Especially, it's harder for folks of color to make the re-entry. Folks of color, poor people, people with no access to higher education...it's harder for them to come back in. So, something like this is soothing. It's hard work, but it's not demanding. You're dealing with growing something that has the potential to change somebody's life."

"There are still people living in modern America who don't eat every day, who don't eat fresh vegetables every day. We have the dynamic of people re-entering the population and growing produce for the community. The prison population is participating in, and helping, the workforce. For instance, Amazon has packing in the prisons. If we applied that principle to other things...if farming could be a bigger part of that, there might be less crime. There might be less hunger."

"We're building a food hub. It's like a commissary kitchen. It's in an old local building that hasn't been used for eons. Once again, the [Alameda County] Sheriff's department was able to get the space, and we're building a kitchen and also a packing plant. So all the produce that we grow will be taken there and washed and packed and distributed back into the neighborhood."

Monique, Dig Deep Farms employee: "When I was 19, I moved to Tennessee. I'd never been to jail or in any trouble. Nothing...then I came back when I was 22, and everything went downhill at that point. Trouble after trouble. And it wasn't even my trouble, but just being with the wrong people. It was just a lot. Then I went to prison."

"I was incarcerated for a year. After that, I said to myself, 'I can't do this', so I started to do more positive things. I went to Merritt College and I graduated with a 3.78 in their business and logistics program."

"Dee told me about Dig Deep, and at first I was kind of skeptical, I thought, "You work in a farm? For real?" And then when I saw it was more like a garden, I was just ready to do something different than something like customer service, or telemarketing. Getting dirt under my fingernails is fine...I like it."

"The job is pretty cool. On Tuesdays it's inventory and check the vegetables and produce and make deliveries to the people. I did that for the first time last week and I liked it. It took all day, but it was pretty cool, giving back versus just always taking."

"Planting stuff...it's just...therapy. I like it."

Sutter Health Community Benefit

"BUILDING HEALTHIER COMMUNITIES TOGETHER"

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