ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Benevolence Farm in Alamance County is being called one of the country’s most innovative rural justice programs which will serve as a model for other communities.
Benevolence Farm provides for women who are transitioning from prison inmates to productive members of society.
“As far as we’re aware, Benevolence Farm is one of the only rural community programs that has both the housing and employment,” said Kristen Powers, executive director of Benevolence Farm.
That’s what makes this place so special. On the 13 acres of land, the formerly incarcerated women can live here and earn money by working on the farm.
“We really want to create a community that… invests in the individual,” Powers said.
Powers said 95% of the people they help stay out of prison in comparison to the statewide average of 40%.
Now Benevolence Farm is being recognized by the Rural Justice for Collaborative Advisory Council as one of nine innovation sites in the U.S.
RJC will provide educational resources so other communities can replicate the facility.
While it’s exciting to be nationally recognized, the real pride lies within helping those who’ve needed them in one of the toughest transitions of their lives.
“I would be back in prison. No doubt about it,” said Keia Bazemore, who was helped by the program.
That was the harsh reality for Bazemore had she not been chosen to work and live here.
“I came here in 2017 right after I got released from prison,” Bazemore explained.
The folks at Benevolence Farm made sure Bazemore got to her probation and medical appointments. They even helped her set up a bank account. All while teaching her how to farm in rural North Carolina.
“If you can grow a farm, you can do anything,” Bazemore said.
She’s living independently and working in Raleigh.
“Now I work with a lot of prison reform, social justice reform and things dealing with the prison sector, and that came from here,” she said.
The program provided her with a fresh and judgment-free start.
In 2020, Benevolence Farm was nominated as “coolest thing made in NC” by the NC Chamber of Commerce.