Why We Work with Folks in Recovery

Our Makers in recovery and those who are coming out of incarceration face systemic issues that make it challenging to be able to provide sustainable and healthy futures for themselves and for their families. We have developed our programming and mission around the following issues facing our Makers.

Non-inclusive Employment Opportunities

“Formerly incarcerated individuals are unemployed at a rate of over 27% — higher than the total U.S. unemployment rate during any historical period, including the Great Depression. Our estimate of the unemployment rate establishes that formerly incarcerated people want to work but face structural barriers to securing employment, particularly within the period immediately following release. For those who are Black or Hispanic — especially women — status as “formerly incarcerated” reduces their employment chances even more. This perpetual labor market punishment creates a counterproductive system of release and poverty, hurting everyone involved: employers, the taxpayers, and certainly formerly incarcerated people looking to break the cycle.”

Systemic Barriers to Employment

Folks convicted of drug possession are often saddled with crippling court-imposed fines, fees, costs, and assessments that they cannot afford to pay. These can include court costs, public defender application fees, and surcharges on incurred fines, among others. They often come on top of the price of bail (if defendants can afford it), income-earning opportunities lost due to incarceration, and the financial impact of a criminal record. For those who choose to hire an attorney, the costs of defending their case may have already left them in debt or struggling to make ends meet for months or even years to come.

A drug conviction also keeps many people from getting a job, renting a home, and accessing benefits and other programs they may need to support themselves and their families—and to enjoy full civil and social participation. Federal law allows states to lock people out of welfare assistance and public housing for years and sometimes even for life based on a drug conviction. People convicted of drug possession may no longer qualify for educational loans; they may be forced to rely on public transport because their driver’s license is automatically suspended; they may be banned from juries and the voting booth; and they may face deportation if they are not US citizens, no matter how many decades they have lived in the US or how many of their family members live in the country.

Food Insecurity

Incarceration increases food insecurity. Some of the collateral consequences of incarceration include being partially or completely banned from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) and other social supports such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), affordable housing opportunities, Medicaid/Medicare, and Pell grants. In some cases these are lifetime bans. “ Not having access to social supports at a time when they most need them helps explain why 91 percent of returning citizens in a study by the National Institutes of Health reported 36 percent being food insecure when they were released. It also helps explain why their children are much more likely to be hungry or food insecure.

Limited Physical & Mental Health Resources

According to a recent study, individuals coming out of incarceration have at least one chronic problem with physical health, mental health, or substance use (Mallik-Kane and Visher 2008). These health problems make it harder to successfully reintegrate into the community after incarceration— affecting people’s ability to avoid offending and maintain employment, housing, family relationships, and sobriety. More than 90% of individuals did not have health insurance, impeding the receipt of care for chronic health conditions and leading to high levels of emergency room use.

Re-entry from incarceration is a difficult transition, and health management is often a low priority as people grapple with more basic survival needs (e.g., food and housing), reconnecting with family members, and finding employment (Mallik-Kane 2005).

How We Empower and Employ:


Makers receive forty days of culinary, agricultural, and maintenance workforce training; including planting, harvesting, food preparation, car, and tractor repair.


Makers can receive assistance with their court fees, providing transportation, childcare, housing assistance, and advocacy training. We work alongside our maker, and their case manager, to create a specialized supportive plan so every maker’s support plan look different!


Makers will receive access to our farm-fresh produce, cooking classes for preparing nutritious meals & resources to eat healthier on a budget.


We connect our Makers to medical and mental health resources in their communities. 97% percent of our makers do not have health insurance. Contact: Christy McQueen

2020 Impact Report

Check out how YOU have made an impact in 2020 in the lives of our Makers and community.

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Nonprofit Outcomes

March 16, 2018 – December 31st, 2020

Full-time Job Positions for Graduates at Century Harvest Farms Foundation
of graduates are still maintaining their same employment 1 year post graduation
hours of workforce development training
Hours of Childcare for our Makers and Graduates of our Program
lbs of produce that was donated to Makers and Local Food Programs
meals made for makers, their families, and other non-profits in our east Tennessee region
miles of transportation to and from Century Harvest Farms

Started in 2020

individual Maker meeting hours with our Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS)
weeks of housing support for 20 Makers at $135 a week
Hi-Set (TN High School Equivalency) Graduate
Makers enrolled in Hi-Set Training
Maker Meal Boxes delivered during COVID-19 shutdown