The Prisoner’s Apothecary is a mobile healing unit ( or “Plantbulance”) that transforms the plants from The Solitary Gardens into medicine for communities most deeply impacted by the insidious reach of mass incarceration. The Prisoner’s Apothecary will produce natural medicine, tea, tinctures, steams, and salves. As the medicine is designed by folks who are incarcerated, incarcerated individuals will have a unique opportunity to heal the communities they are often accused of harming.
This action will transcend perceptions of criminality, restitution, and redemption. As part of a national tour, The Prisoner’s Apothecary will offer free plant medicine and healing justice workshops to communities marginalized by mass incarceration, violence, and heteropatriarchy. This initiative will be built with a collective of grassroots organizers, artists, healthcare dissidents, farmers, and educators working toward harm reduction, health sovereignty, and accessible community care. Filled with plant-medicine grown in collaboration with incarcerated persons and distributed to affected communities nationally, The Prisoner’s Apothecary facilitates the healing potentiality of folx we are systematically taught to condemn. With your help, we can retrofit a vehicle and take this important project on a national tour.
Why is this important?
Slavery did not end—it merely evolved into systems of punishment and control from the school-to-prison pipeline to the prison industrial complex. Today, we are combating a strong narrative of fear birthed out of the cognitive revolution of racialized capitalism. Through the act of shared gardening and medicine making, The Prisoner’s Apothecary aims to demonstrate how ignoring the vitality of previously imprisoned or incarcerated folx impoverishes our own imaginations and collective well being.
Unlearning systems of oppression is like growing a plant: it requires daily attention and care. The Prisoner’s Apothecary fosters visionary possibility and harm reduction by co-designing gardens, sharing medicine, and healing practices with prisoners across the country. Our goal is to help us dream beyond what we know by challenging the dominant culture’s reductive understanding of criminality.
The Prisoner’s Apothecary is also about helping us get back in touch with nature, reconnecting our communities to the land through restorative relationships and shared healing practices. Those directly impacted by mass incarceration are closest to the solutions required to convalesce a system designed to further partition. The Prisoner’s Apothecary takes a unique approach to content by fostering relationships between communities condemned by racism, cisnormativity, patriarchy, and sexism. By growing and distributing plant medicine, human-beings not only become visible, but valuable contributors to our collective growth and healing.
About the artist
I have spent the last 17-years working with folx serving their sentences in long-term isolation in prisons across the United States. My 12-year long collaboration with Herman Wallace (deceased) has positioned me at the forefront of the campaign to end solitary confinement in the United States. As a result, I spend a lot of time inside prisons where so much of my inspiration is found. Concurrently, I am enrolled in herbal school and completely inspired/influenced by the plants. My 3-current works-in-progress, Solitary Gardens, The Garrison, and Gardens For Incarcerated Mothers, are intended for outdoor community spaces in an effort to spark conversation, collaboration, and growth. This work results in not just a viewer, but a participant. The Prisoner’s Apothecary would not only advance the social practice that makes these projects beautiful, but manifest an original work that centers the healing potential of folx we are systematically taught to condemn.
What will your contribution support?
We'll be retrofitting The Garrison, the prison abolition vehicle that was used to take The Solitary Gardens on Tour. Retrofitting would mean fixing it, building out the inside so it could drive with a (fragile) apothecary, and potentially converting the diesel engine to veggie!
Then, if we hit our goal, the rest of the funds will be used to spread the word about the project or buy a new vehicle depending on how much we raise in the end.
Violence is the glue that holds patriarchy together. We need all hands on deck to heal society intensely divided by reductive identities and false binary perceptions. Collective healing is the only solution. Kickstarter provides a unique collective opportunity to transcend harmful constructs of self and other.
Risks and challenges
I am aware that the language I am using is challenging for some folx that might be new to vitalism, prison abolition or transformative justice. We also are looking for additional funding to grow this project. Specifically we made it to the second round of Creative Capital If we don't get that grant we will have to find alternative funding.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (37 days)