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 2018 Melvin 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 facilitate 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 orginally came to WTPOF as a work study student, and accepted the role of Program Coordinator after completing her MSW at Eastern Michigan University. Heidi is passionate about mental health and supporting people through the challenges of life transitions and personal growth. 

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.