Inmates plant a garden to give back

Learning how to grow your own food is a valuable skill. Something inmates at the state penitentiary are now able to do. And as Shelby Rose tells us, it serves a unique purpose.

Two inmates, Chris and Timothy, are taking their work outside planting a victory garden. It’s all thanks to a nearly $10,000 dollar grant from the Robert Wood Johnson foundation.

“I’m really happy to see it come along. It’s going to be a good project. There’s so much new things that I’m learning. I’ve never used a drip irrigation system, I’ve never cover crops,” said Timothy Klose. 

Now, this is a sweet pepper plant. Other ones that you’ll find in the victory garden include peas, carrots, and even a watermelon.

Klose added, “We’re finally getting it really going now. We’ve had a lot of help from a lot of different people to do it.”

Here’s the catch. They aren’t keeping any of the harvested crops. It’s all going to local charities.

“It helps two vulnerable populations, the inmates here and the people who are homeless or maybe need a little assistance with some food support,” said Mandy Slag, the writer of the grant.

It’s half the reason why Chris and Timothy are involved. 

“The work that I do is going to help a lot of people. Where all the other work that I did inside the prison didn’t get to do that,” said Chris Vernon.

This experience has brought out Chris’s love for gardening. He plans on planting his own once he gets out. 

He added, “It’s going to create a sense of togetherness because it’s something that you can do with your family. It’s something that I’ve never done before, and I get to introduce this when I get home.”

The fresh produce will go to Ministry on the Margins, Ruth Meier’s Hospitality House and the Great Plains Food Bank.

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