We The People Opportunity Farm

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Change the soil. Close the gap. Give a second chance.

Reducing the recidivism rate in Washtenaw County, one seed at a time.

Most people believe in second chances.

But how often do we actually get a chance to give them?

We the People Opportunity Farm was built on this principle, believing that the formerly incarcerated men and women of Washtenaw County deserve an opportunity to be restored and reintegrated into the community.

But this work takes resources, time, and investment. While many nonprofits have large grants and sponsorships, our work is largely funded by the people. People just like you. And as a predominantly BIPOC-led organization, we’re faced with the reality that people of color are paid 70% on the dollar compared to our white male counterparts. Even though our people are putting in the work, committing to the vision, and changing lives, they’re still statistically underpaid.

That’s why we need your support. The men and women we’re serving need your support. The underserved communities we provide free organic produce to, need your support.

Formerly incarcerated citizens have been historically treated as blemishes in society. We’re actively changing that through our internships and community engagement programs.

And we’re inviting you to support our efforts in giving our interns a second chance.

Will you change the soil?

Contribute

The donation you make today will help our organization continue to be financially resilient and help us expand and enhance the experience of our paid internship program for formerly incarcerated men and women.

We the People Opportunity Farm was built on this principle, believing that the formerly incarcerated men and women of Washtenaw County deserve an opportunity to be restored and reintegrated into the community.

Thank you for coming alongside us as we change the soil in the lives of those we come in contact with!

The people, the impact

“I learned a lot from them as far as being outside of the farm. We went to Lansing to visit the state capitol. We went to other farms to see how they operate. Any problems I had they helped me out. I was behind on a car payment, and Melvin helped me with half of that. I think it was a good program. I just wish they could get more people.”

-Intern Logene Darby

“A beautiful experiences that I have had is the oppurtunity to see people that have never driven, or people that finally get their license, travel to wherever they please in their new vehicles. Additionally, community gatherings are also wonderful to see because they show that the people that are in our everyday neighborhood have the heart to want to support this special thing happening. There are countless things that are beautiful, and the way that we can support an intern to prosper everyday is incredible”

-Board Member, Justin Harper

“We got our own style, the only farm in Ypsilanti. The people that work here are the unique part. It's difficult to get a job right out of prison because of the record. But the guy that started it was once in prison so he knows where I’m coming from. What’s unique is that we can get a job”

-Intern Pony

About Us

Our Story

It all started with a seed and a dream. In 2015, “Farmer'' Melvin Parson founded the organization with one vision: Create a sustainable farming system that could support a workforce of formerly incarcerated men and women. And for the last 7 years, WTOPF has helped over 10 citizens develop in-demand skills and fully engage in their communities.

Our Program

Over the course of a nine-month paid internship, our interns learn key agricultural skills and techniques. Through hands-on training in our local farm, the interns are taught how to prep and nurture the soil, plant and harvest crops and deliver produce to local restaurants. Our program supports the whole person, through training beyond agricultural skills. Interns participate in our Community Engagements activities, such as career-building workshops, financial literacy coaching, home rehabilitation and educational field trips.

Once they graduate the program, we partner with them in securing employment, training and further education to advance their personal and professional goals.

The organic produce that we harvest from the farm during their training is distributed to the community at no cost and sold to local restaurants that support our work and enjoy cooking with our food.

When given the opportunity, formerly incarcerated citizens can become contributing members of society. All they need is an opportunity.

And you can help give them that second chance with your donations to support our workforce.