A few months ago, a friend of Benevolence Farm reached out to share an incredible partnership opportunity. He worked for a local pottery studio with a collection of containers that they could not sell. Each of these containers had slight blemishes that made them unusable for their original purpose. And that made them perfect for what we do at Benevolence Farm.
Benevolence Farm is a non-profit social enterprise located in Alamance County, NC. We are a 13-acre farm where second chances grow naturally. Our mission is to cultivate leadership, promote sustainable livelihoods, and reap structural change with individuals impacted by the criminal legal system in North Carolina. Our farm house provides safe and secure rooms to women returning home from incarceration and our employment program provides a living wage to those same individuals.
The employment program pays a living wage to the farm’s residents. Everything that’s purchased from the farm is re-invested right back into our employees. In December 2018, after two years of vegetable production, we introduced value-added products to provide more financial stability: the Benevolence Farm body and home care product line. We didn’t know where it would take us, but I don’t think any of us imagined the possibilities it would open up for both the farm and the women who work here.
And that brings us back to the imperfect containers from our friend. One of our best selling products are candles. At the moment, the candles are poured into traditional glass tumblers, a product that has been tough to secure during this pandemic supply chain crisis. However, this crisis gave us a creative opportunity to find ways to bring second chances to more than just people. What if we could upcycle containers that would otherwise be thrown away to house our candles? What if we embraced their imperfections and made them our own?
So when our friend sent us a picture of these gorgeous and beautifully altered containers, we knew we could offer them another chance. The slight knicks in the glaze or lopsided edges do not affect the quality of the candle’s burn and only add character to their appearance. Our resident candle scientists went to work on designing recipes that worked well with the unique sizes of these new containers.
And thus, our second chance pottery candle product was born. At our very first market, we sold out of all the containers and are excited to launch another offering this holiday season.
Community partnerships like we have with Haand are what allow us to support more women at Benevolence Farm. Every time someone purchases these products, they invest in the living wages of our women in the enterprise program. Our second chance pottery candles reduce waste, offer creative opportunities, and embrace the fact that all of us are more than the sum of our imperfections and mistakes.If you are interested in supporting the work of Benevolence Farm, a non-profit social enterprise farm here in Alamance County, please consider making an end-of-year investment in second chances here. You can also purchase holiday gifts on their website here.