Emma’s Acres: Reintegration, Restoration and Food Security

2017 Go Fund Me Campaign: Walk Behind Tractor For Emma’s Acres

In 2017, we are raising money to buy a much-needed walk behind tractor for Emma’s Acres! Emma’s Acres is L.I.N.C. Societies agricultural social enterprise located in Mission, British Columbia. Emma’s Acres is a project that works with offenders and victims and increases local food security.

The video above is from a CBC National documentary on Emma’s Acres which aired in October 2016.

Emma’s Acres is an 8-acre small lot farm that grows non-spray and non-GMO vegetables, fruits and herbs. This produce is sold on-site at the Mission City Farmers Market and to local restaurants and grocery stores. Produce is also donated to local non-profits and individuals in need. Proceeds from Emma’s Acres goes towards the work L.I.N.C. does with people impacted by the criminal justice system.

The L.I.N.C. Society started Emma’s Acres three years ago on land we lease from the District of Mission. We have had to clear the land, build the infrastructure, get electricity and drip irrigation in and increase the PH levels in the soil. A lot of the work we do by hand. The walk behind tractor will help with row building and other work, making the process faster and more efficient.

$16,000 Raised in 2015 for Emma’s Acres Project!

A huge THANK YOU to all of those who helped us raise $16,000 for the Emma’s Acres ‘Water by the Foot’ irrigation system project!

Your generosity made it possible for us to bring water from across the road to the property, and to install the drip irrigation system on 5 acres of land and in the greenhouse.

THANK YOU for your generous support!!

About Emma’s Acres

The Project

Emma’s Acres is an agricultural social enterprise business that employs survivors/victims, ex-offenders and offenders.

We produce vegetables, herbs and fruits grown naturally without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers on an 8-acre property leased to us by the District of Mission.

The produce is sold at the Mission City Farmers’ Market, and plans are in the works to sell to local restaurants and stores. Some is donated to local non profits in the District of Mission including the food banks and the community kitchen.

The proceeds of the social enterprise business funds the work of the L.I.N.C. Society in the community and, in particular, its work with survivors of  serious crime.

Background

L.I.N.C. has been managing the community garden in Mission for the past four years, supporting our peer support group for survivors of homicide by selling the produce we have grown at the local farmers’ market.

In 2011, L.I.N.C. won the Communities in Bloom most improved garden in Mission, the unsung heroes award and an honorable mention for the non profit sector. In 2012, L.I.N.C. won the award for best non-profit garden.

In December 2011, L.I.N.C.’s work in the community garden was the focus of an award winning piece on Connect with Mark Kelly on CBC Newsworld.

In November 2012, L.I.N.C.’s Executive director, Sherry Edmunds-Flett,  was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal by Randy Kamp, MP in which the Society’s work in the garden was highlighted.

In March 2013, L.I.N.C. won the Fraser Valley Diversity Award for Inclusive Environment.

Location of Emma’s Acres

The produce is grown on land leased to the L.I.N.C. Society by the District of Mission.

The  site address is 34890 Cemetery Avenue, Mission, BC.  The property is designated as cemetery land and is across from the current cemetery in Mission.

Emma’s Acres Objectives

  1. Supply naturally grown non-spray produce year round in Mission B.C.
  2. Support the work we do with survivors of serious crime through selling our produce
  3. Offer offenders on conditional release the opportunity to learn to garden and grow their own food while gaining first hand experience managing a garden, from seed to sale.
  4. Create an inclusive community green space

Project Partnerships

L.I.N.C. has long standing relationships with all our project partners who each bring valuable insights to the project. Our project partners include:

  • Communities in Bloom in Mission assists by providing necessary community connections for the project and mentorship for our L.I.N.C. gardeners.
  • VanCity provides the Society and its members with crucial financial literacy skills that will help the project be successful and move to the next step and L.I.N.C. members manage their own finances. (L.I.N.C.  has been a member of Van City since the Society’s inception and has received community grants from VanCity.)
  • The Correctional Service of Canada/CORCAN will share knowledge about work release policy, education and training, labour market links and resources for people on conditional release as well as support/connections through the Regional Offender Vocational and Employment Committee. (L.I.N.C. has held contracts with the CSC for the past 20 years and is a member of the ROEVC.)
  • The District of Mission Parks and Recreation has provided the land and helps with infrastructure and utilities. (L.I.N.C. has worked with the District for the last three years on the community garden project.)

Target Population

Emma’s Acres focuses on individuals who are slowly being released back into society on various forms of conditional release such as:

  • escorted and unescorted temporary absences
  • work release
  • day parole
  • full parole
  • statutory release.

L.I.N.C. has a working relationships with Kwikwe’xwelhp Healing Village, as well as the regional, institutional and community elders. Priority is given to Aboriginal men and women who are overrepresented in federal prisons.

The majority of the men and women are anywhere from 35 to 60 plus years of age and have been incarcerated for ten years or more.  They have multiple barriers to successful reintegration including: mental health and/or substance abuse challenges, lack of community supports, little or no current knowledge/experience on how to live pro-socially on the outside. Many of these individuals are determined and very eager to transition and learn practical skills.  Lacking in self esteem, they struggle to gain meaningful employment with little (or no) references, little (or no) identification and work experience.

Check out the following articles about Emma’s Acres:

October 2016 CBC video
Convicts, victims work to heal old wounds on B.C. farm

February 2016 article in BC food security gateway
“Emma’s Acres: An Innovative Approach to Stewarding the Land in the Fraser Valley”

January 2015 article in Social Enterprise Canada
“Emma’s Acres social enterprise a rallying point for community engagement”

April 2014 article in The Province newspaper
“Fraser Valley farm project aims to give inmates a new stake in the community”

VanCity article
“Emma’s Acres: Growing more than gardens in Mission, BC”


Visit Emma’s Acres on Flickr!

Emma’s Acres funding is provided by …

Community Action Initiative Logo
Vancity Logo
TreeCanada Logo

Rotary International Logo

Communities-in-Bloom
Silk-Logo
Telus Logo

West Coast Seeds
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