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To: Minister of Public Safety, Corrections Canada

Use prison farms for food security

Please cancel the plan for an industrial goat-milk operation on the two Kingston-area prison farms, and, instead, use those 1500 acres to grow nutritious produce for food banks and food-insecure communities during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

Why is this important?

For years, Canada's six prison farms provided prisoners with valuable training, rehabilitation and motivation, until 2010 when the Harper government closed them. In 2018, the Trudeau government allocated $4.3 million towards restoring two of the farms in the Kingston, Ontario area, totalling approximately 1500 acres of farmland.[1]

Now, with the COVID-19 crisis raising issues of food security,[2] those 1500 acres could help meet the need, growing a large variety of highly nutritious produce for food banks and food-insecure communities.

However, the Correctional Services' current plan for the farms is to establish an industrial dairy goat operation supplying goat milk to Feihe corporation to manufacture baby formula for commercial sale and export to China.[3]

Using public land and a vulnerable prison workforce to supply Feihe's for-profit baby formula business goes against international and domestic regulations regarding prison labour.[4] It also runs counter to decades of warnings from international experts about the serious health risks of infant formula promotion.[5]

This surreptitious attempt to introduce a new privatized approach is the opposite of what prison farms should be doing – focussing on rehabilitation by providing prisoners with meaningful work, skills training and health benefits.

Starting now, these prison farms could be growing food for food banks and communities in need, supporting food security during and after the COVID-19 crisis. Every signature on this petition will help make that happen.

If you support this idea, please consider also signing the parallel e-petition to the House of Commons, before its closing date of May 24th: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2552. Signing both will maximize the reach and impact of this timely and comprehensive proposal.

[1] https://www.kingstonist.com/news/collins-bay-institution-farm-officially-opens/

[2] CBC News: “Food security experts are warning the global pandemic could lead to supply shortages. Federal government announces $100M for food banks facing increase in demand, drop in donations.” https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/food-security-covid19-trudeau-1.5520492

[3] https://evolveourprisonfarms.ca/prison-farms-feihe-connection/

[4] WTO's General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, ILO’s standards and Canada’s own strict laws against importing goods produced wholly or in part by prison labour (tariff No. 9897.00.00) https://evolveourprisonfarms.ca/exporting-prison-produced-goods/

[5] WHO's International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes https://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/code_english.pdf

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Reasons for signing

  • Makes sense and is so needed - prison farms should serve the community, not commercial interests!
  • Canada should use its prison farms for non-profit charitable goals.

Updates

2020-05-15 11:48:51 -0400

100 signatures reached

2020-05-14 09:33:57 -0400

50 signatures reached

2020-05-11 10:39:25 -0400

25 signatures reached

2020-05-08 12:53:31 -0400

10 signatures reached