Founded by Maria Baranova in 2020
Farm 4 Freedom aims to give released inmates and the destitute a fresh start at life by introducing them to agriculture. They will be trained in the skills required to sow and harvest their own land, which will then be accessible to the people in local food deserts at a fair market price.
An urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.
Based on the article published by Twanda D. Wadlington, East Tennessee State University, 18% of the 1,497 Tennessee census tracts were considered "food deserts."
Providing organic food to local food deserts via Produce Trucks and Farmers Markets!
Everyone should have access to fresh produce so we are here to help make it affordable and easily accessible by partnering with SNAP and bring the food to your area!
* Partnership with SNAP will begin in the spring of 2021!
After COVID19 hit Tennessee it was evident that the homeless population was going to spike. It was also clear that many ex-offenders had no growth opportunity at this time. After talking to one of my old friends about the poverty cycle and issues surrounding it, I came up with the idea of hiring these communities to solve the food desert situation in Knoxville, TN.
Knoxville takes good care of their homeless but unfortunately, there are limited opportunities to advance further through any of these programs. Even when employment opportunities are presented, its not as easy as just showing up to work. It is difficult to maintain employment when you have no home, when you have no resources, when the culture around you has little sense of time other than the bus route, and when drugs make it easier to cope with your current reality.
There must be a middle ground for these homeless and ex-offenders that gives them a flexible schedule, a productive community, and stability to improve. We must give these communities stability in order for them to grow: This is where Farm 4 Freedom comes in.
This is the middle ground. The workers get picked up via carpool, paid minimum wage for training (which is at their own pace), this program is completely optional and should be used as a resource, not forced on each individual. Once the training has been completed, the farmer has the option to get a designated plot of land to grow the crops of the season. The crops produced will be sold to local food deserts for profit or taken home for their family. This is an option available to all our trained or -also known as-"Lead" Farmers.
The farmers markets will serve two purposes for our farmers:
1) Sell their crops to communities
2) Prepare resumes and personal statements for local businesses to pick up so that our farmers have growth opportunity in their preferred field.