Greenwashing “Modern Day Slavery” through the Mystique of Prison Farm Labor




Jou, Chin

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Cambridge University Press


In Charleston, Maine, a town of about 1,500 near the center of the state, there is an orchard with 750 apple trees and a farm where a variety of produce is grown.1 This bucolic setting is on the grounds of the Mountain View Correctional Facility, a 374-bed minimum- and medium-security state prison.2 Incarcerated people tend to the apple trees and vegetables, and every year they cultivate 100,000 pounds of produce that wind up on their prison cafeteria, or chow hall, trays.3 Writing for the New York Times in 2021, Patricia Leigh Brown highlighted how Mountain View's prison food service manager Mark McBrine, who also happened to be “an organic farmer with dirt under his fingernails,” was “making the prison a pioneer in a nascent farm-to-prison table movement.”4 According to multiple media outlets that have reported on Mountain View's food system, it is a model to be emulated—both an antidote to dreary prison food and a cost-saver for the state of Maine.5 [...]




Jou, C. (2024). Greenwashing “Modern Day Slavery” through the Mystique of Prison Farm Labor. International Labor and Working-Class History, 1–15. doi:10.1017/S0147547923000467


Interdisciplinary School for Engagement in Humanities and Social Sciences (EHSS)