Beth Waitkus is founder and director of the nationally recognized and evidence-based Insight Garden Program (IGP). As part of her deep commitment to community service, environmental issues, and sustainable food systems, Beth founded the IGP in 2002. The program provides an innovative curriculum combined with vocational gardening and landscaping training so that people in prison can reconnect to self, community, and the natural world. This “inner” and “outer” gardening approach transforms lives, ends ongoing cycles of incarceration, and creates safer communities. Having worked with over 1,500 prisoners at several California prisons, IGP is currently replicating nationwide, including a collaboration with Hawthorne Valley Farm to provide its transformative curriculum to formerly incarcerated returning to New York City.
Beth has won accolades for her prison work as runner up for the Agape Foundation’s Peace Prize and is featured in the book Eco Amazons: 20 Women Who are Transforming the World by Dorka Keehn. She is also a recipient of the Hotchkiss School’s 2013 Community Service Award and in 2013 was featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.