SAN DIEGO — Garden 31 is a community-based farming organization that empowers people and reconnects them to the Earth.

Chris Burroughs is the green thumb behind the nonprofit. His goal is to teach students how to farm in harmony with nature, using organic practices to heal the environment.

Burroughs started getting into trouble as a teen and later served 14 years in prison. He picked up his first gardening magazine while incarcerated and knew he had found the way to a new life. He wrote the business plan for Garden 31 from his jail cell.

“I had low self-worth for a long time, and a lot of these students deal with that same thing,” he said. “And we want them to understand that they’re just as valuable, and they have just as much to give this world as anybody else.”

After prison, Burroughs went back to college and studied sustainable agriculture and environmental sustainability. He now uses his knowledge of nature and his history to help kids find a better future.

“Plants, power, people,” he said. “That’s a sentence, that’s a statement, and it’s three independent things that come together to build life.”