We The People Opportunity Farm

Our Team

Melvin Parson

Executive Director

Melvin Parson (AKA Farmer Parson) spent approximately 13 years of his life incarcerated. As such, he has experienced many of the challenges that come along with either being on parole or probation. In 2016 Melvin earned a BSW from Eastern Michigan University. In 2015 he co-founded a mentor program for men and women returning home from incarceration called A Brighter Way. In that same year, Melvin founded We The People Growers Association (WTPGA) and in 2018 he started a nonprofit organization called We The People Opportunity Farm (WTPOF). WTPOF’s vision centers around providing “soil changing” opportunities for both men and women returning home from incarceration. Melvin believes there are several factors which lead people back to prison, a couple of them being lack of employment and lack of community support. Melvin’s goals are to create an internship program that will help spawn meaningful job & educational opportunities and create a culture where folks will have enough support to make strides towards caring about themselves, others, and their community.

Heidi Bechtel

Program Coordinator

Heidi received her MSW at Eastern Michigan University while working as a Graduate Assistant at Swoop’s Food Pantry. Heidi has a passion to see policy change in the areas of poverty, racial justice, mass incarceration, and the effects these issues have on the population that WTPOF serves. She is an avid learner and enjoys approaching new challenges on the job. Heidi is married with two children and enjoys hiking, swimming, gardening, traveling, and trying new foods.

Eric Kampe

Farm Manager

Eric Kampe has been growing organic vegetables and saving seeds since 2007. He was the founder of Ann Arbor Seed Company and a member/owner of the Green Things Farm Collective. Eric appreciates good soil stewardship, telling stories and bad jokes, and working/playing outside.