WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A diverse group of people began raking, digging, and clearing land this weekend for the urban farm project. Experienced members of Crop Mob had no problem lending a helping farm hand.
"Right now they have access to land, which is great," said member of Crop Mob Brittany Taggart. "That is the first step. But there is a lot of clearing and laborious things to be done so we are helping them with that."
It is a mission to provide entrepreneurial opportunities for post-incarcerated citizens by introducing them to growing crops and raising farm animals.
"You have a stigma attached to you. You have a felony record on you. No one wants to really hire you. They don’t want to take chances with you," said LINC Farm Manager Scott Jordan. "So we are trying to empower people to be entrepreneurs."
Working within the community can help people with criminal records make connections and learn skills that will lead them in the right direction says Jordan.
"People are going to see that you are trustworthy. People are going to see that you are motivated. And they are going to be willing to give you a chance."
But that is not the only benefit of farming. Taggart says it is healing.
"They are going to learn a lot about food and farming, but there is a therapeutic piece to it. There is something about gardening and farming that can really touch people."
Of course, there are other reasons why volunteers put their hearts and backs into this mission.
The project also wants to give lower income families access to organic, healthy food that is typically hard to find and expensive according to LINC Operations Manager Aimee Cox.
"I think all of these people here care about where their food comes from."
While the vision for the project is complete, it will most likely take much longer for the land to be farm-ready.