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.