The first Solitary Garden prototype was built in a community garden in the 7th Ward of New Orleans, next to jackie’s home and is maintained by the Girls and Boys 7th Ward Garden Club. Albert Woodfox was Herman Wallace’s closest comrade, himself spending 44-years in solitary confinement. A close friend, chosen family member, and elder of jackie sumell the first Solitary Garden was built in collaboration with him. When asked what he would like planted in his (Solitary) garden bed, Albert Woodfox responded: “Well, it’s for the kids; I don’t want them to go hungry, so we have to make sure that there is food they can take home and eat.”
Solitary Gardens are tools for physical as well as psychological healing, both inside and outside the prison walls. On February 19th, 2016 Albert Woodfox was released from prison. He lives in New Orleans Louisiana where he maintains his own garden but often visits jackie’s home and this garden as an homage to his friend. In 2017, Albert Woodfox addressed the crowd at the inauguration of the Andry Street site. The original prototype is the only Solitary Garden built from steel and concrete. We learned quickly that we wanted Solitary Gardens to off-set the carbon footprint and emotional toll of prisons. Since this bed’s completion Solitary Gardens have been built out of materials that obey the laws of nature and change over time. The garden bed is still maintained by the kids of the 7th Ward and part of a new project called a Garden To Dye For!