Gardening growing even in prisons

produceThe Missouri Department of Corrections gardening program set a record this year by donating 180 tons of fresh produce, the department announced today.

The prison in Cameron, Mo., also donated 11,172 plants to the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City.

The produce from prisons statewide goes to food pantries, shelters, churches, nursing homes and school districts.

George Lombardi, corrections director, said in a press release: “Our garden program is one of the many Restorative Justice Programs within the department where offenders learn about compassion and altruistic behavior, which is something many of them lack.”

The programs provide a way for offenders to repay their debt to communities by giving something back, he said.

In April, offenders typically start cultivating the plants and harvest ends in late fall at 19 adult institutions and three community supervision centers.

This is the third consecutive year that the garden program has set a record for donations. It was up from 163 tons last year.

Apparently there is some competition in vegetable production.

The press release lists the Jefferson City Correctional Center as top producer with nearly 31 tons of produce.

The Western Missouri Correctional Center in Cameron was third with 26 tons of produce, just one ton less than number two, The Boonville Correctional Center.

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