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Duke University Libraries receive grant to transform prison into farm and education center

News release: “The Duke University Libraries have received a $52,647 grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board to help transform an abandoned prison into a sustainable farm and education center through the magic of virtual reality. “It’s not easy to visualize how an abandoned and unused prison can be repurposed to help a struggling community,” said David Stein, Duke PepsiCo Education Technology Partnership Coordinator and principal investigator for the project. “We are ‘shackled’ by our preconceived notions of what prisons can be.” The prison in question is an actual former correctional facility in rural Wagram, in one of the poorest counties in North Carolina with one of the state’s highest unemployment rates. The idea to “flip” the abandoned site into a sustainable farm is the mission of GrowingChange, a North Carolina nonprofit led by a team of formerly incarcerated youth. GrowingChange gives young people in the criminal justice system job training and life skills through farming and service learning. Their goal is to create as a national model for reusing closed prisons…”

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