The Solitary Gardens are prison-cells-turned-garden-beds built out of the largest chattel slave crops— sugarcane, cotton, indigo, tobacco. We grow those crops on site, harvest them, grind them down, and then add them to a natural lime, water and clay. Through a process of “tamping”, similar to building rammed earth homes, cob houses, or carbo-neutral building, we construct the walls of the Solitary Gardens illustrating the evolution of chattel slavery into mass incarceration. THE PROCESS is critical to transformation. It allows us as volunteers to engage in meaningful conversations about racial inequality, white supremacy and prison abolition. It allows US to process collectively.
As a result of this process The Solitary Gardens are “alive” and the walls change overtime, off-setting the footprint of prisons made of concrete and steel. As the garden beds mature, the prison architecture is overpowered by plant life, proving that nature—like hope, love, and imagination—will ultimately triumph over the harm humans impose on ourselves and on the planet.