Restorative Food Justice

Reentering community members will gain skills and access to healthy food.

Image source: EMERGE CT

Men and women returning to the community from prison often face a future of not knowing where their next meals will come from. EMERGE CT, an innovative reentry program in New Haven, is launching a program to help participants access healthy food and build the skills and knowledge to overcome chronic food insecurity.

The EMERGE Restorative Food Justice Program was developed out of a survey of its program participants and has received a grant from Sustainable CT to match individual donations.

The Restorative Food Justice Program will teach skills such as gardening, cooking, and food safety, while also ensuring that people learn about the structural barriers to purchasing healthy, sustainable, and culturally appropriate food.

  • Immersive workshops include:
  • Growing backyard herbs and composting
  • Cooking healthy alternatives to favorite meals
  • Global food system inequities
  • Centering voices of participants through personal food narratives and photo journaling
  • Community involvement and wellness by practicing learned skills with family and peers

    Together with community partners, EMERGE is developing a curriculum and setting up job opportunities.

    EMERGE CT operates a social enterprise with a dual commitment to helping returning citizens make a successful return to their families as responsible members, and to their communities as law-abiding, contributing citizens.

    Learn more about EMERGE on

    Did you know?

    Many in Connecticut currently struggle to afford food and housing, with 12% of men and 15% of women reporting food insecurity, meaning that they did not have enough money to buy food for themselves or their family at some point during the past year. Food insecurity ranges from 9% among white adults to 22% and 27%, respectively, among Black and Latino adults. Source: DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey, Sept. 2020.

    This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.