Second Chances Farm launches in Wilmington with new trainees and a hemp license

The 47,500-square-foot facility in Riverside is bringing on 17 returning citizens to help run the indoor urban farm.

Ajit George speaks next to one of the hydroponic towers that will soon fill the Second Chances Farm warehouse space in Riverside.

(Photo by Holly Quinn)

Ajit George and his team had a lot to announce at the launch of social impact startup Second Chances Farm, where it celebrated the official opening of its 47,500-square-foot facility in Wilmington with a “ladybug dedication.”

That’s like a ribbon cutting, but instead of wielding oversized scissors, the governor, New Castle County executive, mayor and City Council president (among others) released tiny bags of live ladybugs into a floor-to-ceiling vertical “fields” of hydroponic lettuce and herbs.

The urban farm in Riverside will soon also be growing hemp, which is processed into CBD oil, after receiving approval for a license to grow it. (Hemp, a strain of cannabis that has an extremely low level of THC — the substance that gets you high — was made legal in all 50 states with the passage of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill.)

The farm will also offer a few free services to people who live in the neighborhood, including a Crossfit gym and wireless WhyFly service via a connection on the top of the building.

Seventeen returning citizens who have completed their sentences of incarceration have been selected as the first trainee cohort and will receive 16 weeks of paid training.

“We believe those nearest to the solution have also the been affected nearest to the problem,” said Saad Soliman, executive director of Peace by Piece, the organization that assists with the reentry program at Second Chances Farm. “Borrowing from my own experience having served 15 years in prison and overcoming boundaries, overcoming barriers, overcoming obstacles, I believe in the leadership of every single man and woman that we’re bringing in here. Let’s humanize the components of who these men and women really are.”

In addition to Second Chances Farm launch, George is also celebrating the launch of his new book, “The Magic of the Red Carpet,” which follows his journey from the founding of TEDxDelaware to Second Chances Farm. All proceeds of the book will go to Peace by Piece.


Watch Soliman introduce the new team members here:

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