Evolve our Prison Farms (EOPF) is a coalition of citizens united by concerns over animal agriculture as prisoner rehabilitation. The renewal of Canada's prison farms represents a unique opportunity to model ethical and environmentally responsible plant-based farming, to produce healthful foods to feed prisoners, to teach life skills and job skills consistent with market trends, and to offer compassion-based rehabilitation through sanctuary as prisoner-animal therapy. Read the Original EOPF Proposal.
In March 2018, Correctional Services Canada announced its intention to establish a prison goat dairy operation, ignoring all evidence against animal agriculture
as a rehabilitative model. The milk will be sold to the Feihe infant formula factory where it will be processed and shipped to China.
Evolve Our Prison Farms continues to advocate plant-based prison agriculture enhanced by non-violent and non-exploitative prisoner-animal therapy.
**Prisoner participation in prison farm programs is completely voluntary, with modest financial remuneration through CORCAN (the programming division of Correctional Services Canada). Evolve Our Prison Farms stands for prisoner justice and in no way supports prison labour except as it relates directly and ethically to rehabilitation and reintegration.**
EOPF emerged in the summer of 2016 during the Department of Public Safety's consultation and public hearings process relating to the possible re-instatement of prison farms. Founding members include Franceen Neufeld & Calvin Neufeld of the Suffering Eyes Project, which supports farmed animal sanctuaries across North America.
August 2016: EOPF co-founders Franceen Neufeld & Calvin Neufeld addressed the Kingston Town Hall meeting on prison farms hosted by Minister Ralph Goodale and MP Mark Gerretsen. According to a Kingston Whig-Standard reporter: "The community at large seemed to have come to a unanimous decision that the farms were beneficial, although there were a number who agreed with plant-based agriculture, but not the slaughtering or mistreating of animals, which they thought would negatively influence the inmates."
January 2017: The Evolve proposal was formally submitted to Minister Ralph Goodale and MP Mark Gerretsen.
January 2017: A Save the Herd petition calling for sanctuary for the Pen Herd cows was initially submitted to Minister Ralph Goodale and MP Mark Gerretsen with over 4,000 signatures. The petition remained open for ongoing signatures and was formally closed and submitted in December 2017 with a final tally of 12,928 signatures.
February 2017: EOPF representatives met with Kingston MP Mark Gerretsen to discuss the Evolve proposal.
May 2017: Briarpatch Magazine published an article The Herd at the Pen: The promise of animal sanctuary on prison farms.
May 2017: CFRC 101.9FM Queen's University Radio interviewed Sue Donaldson and Calvin Neufeld about the Evolve proposal.
May 2017: EOPF issued an open letter to Minister Goodale regarding the skewed composition of the government-appointed Prison Farm Advisory Panel.
June 2017: EOPF representatives met with Minister Goodale's policy advisor on prison farms to discuss the Evolve proposal.
August 2017: EOPF representatives formally presented the Evolve proposal to the Prison Farm Advisory Panel and staff of Correctional Services Canada.
September 2017: Launch of our Facebook campaign.
October 2017: Recruitment of Expert Perspectives.
November 2017: EOPF representatives met with the Inmate Committee at Collins Bay Institution to gather prisoners' perspectives.
December 2017: Save the Herd Petition March.
February 2018: EOPF representatives met with Dr. Ivan Zinger, Correctional Investigator of Canada, to discuss the Evolve proposal.
March 2018: CSC announces the selection of a prison goat dairy model.
March 2018: Prison Farm Protest.
March 2018: Evolve Our Prison Farms calls for Prisoner Boycott of Prison Farms.
April 2018: EOPF representatives met with Anne Kelly, Interim Commissioner of Correctional Service of Canada.
April 2018: EOPF representatives met with MP Mark Gerretsen to request that he sponsor an upcoming petition.
Next steps are ongoing.
Calvin Neufeld, co-founder of Evolve Our Prison Farms, is interviewed
for Canada's Penitentiary Museum oral history project "In Our Own Words:
The Links Between Kingston's Heritage and its Penitentiaries."
Kingston, Ontario, August 30, 2017.