After the stress of prison life, six women find themselves nurtured and supported in a calm, agricultural sanctuary when they move to Benevolence Farm, a transitional house on a working farm in North Carolina carefully designed to help formerly incarcerated women get back on their feet. According to the Women’s Prison Association, “There are now 200,000 women in prison or jail in the United States, a figure that represents an increase of over 750% in the last three decades, and nearly twice the rate of increase that men experienced.” Most of these women enter prison with histories of drug abuse, trauma, homelessness, and gendered violence. The WPA reports that programs inside of prisons rarely address the needs of women inmates or prepare them to successfully reenter the community and that too often, incarceration contributes to recidivism rather than lessens it. Benevolence Farm is a unique organization, which sees its mission as providing an opportunity for women leaving prison food to live and work on a farm where they grow, food, nourish self, and foster community. The concrete goal is to establish stable housing and gainful employment for women returning from prison through this innovative social-enterprise based program and to inspire the creation of similar reentry programs in other locations. Along the way, Benevolence Farm aims for the loftier goal of creating a more equitable, just, and nurturing world for women. Our film will follow the intimate experiences of the first group of women chosen to live at the farm—from exiting the prison gates to settling into life on the Farm and rebuilding their lives over the following year.

Director | Joanne Hershfield