Archive for Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Garden sprouts at Douglas County Jail

Inmates earn privileges to work on tending fruit, vegetables

Mike Caron, programs director at Douglas County Jail, left, and Jason Hering, a Kansas University student and volunteer, talk about where to locate tomato plants at the jail’s new garden. Inmates were preparing the soil last week for the garden, which is on the southwest portion of the jail grounds. All of the food grown in the garden will be used at the jail, providing fruits and vegetables for inmates, as well as lowering food costs.

Mike Caron, programs director at Douglas County Jail, left, and Jason Hering, a Kansas University student and volunteer, talk about where to locate tomato plants at the jail’s new garden. Inmates were preparing the soil last week for the garden, which is on the southwest portion of the jail grounds. All of the food grown in the garden will be used at the jail, providing fruits and vegetables for inmates, as well as lowering food costs.

May 12, 2010

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Lawrence's newest community garden is sprouting up in an unlikely place - Douglas County Jail.

The location makes sense to volunteer and Kansas University student Jason Hering, who’s been working with jail staff to get the garden going.

“Where better to put a community garden,” Hering said. “You get good quality, local food out here.”

Mike Caron, the jail’s programs director, said the new garden, a 50-by-40-foot fenced-in plot behind the jail, has several benefits.

All of the food grown on the site will be used at the jail, providing healthy fruits and vegetables for inmates, as well as lowering food costs.

Caron said the garden will also be used as a reward for inmates, who can earn privileges to work outside on the site.

Cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and apple trees are being planted by inmates and volunteers in what has been a communitywide effort, Caron said.

Many of the plants were donated by Henry’s Plant Farm, 248 N. 1700 Road, Lecompton. Various community groups, such as KU EcoJustice and the local group, Support for Local Urban Gardeners, have helped with the planning and preparations for the garden.

Hering, a senior in environmental science who is president of KU EcoJustice, has been recruiting students at KU to help in the project, and he sees the benefit of matching students with inmates.

“Many of the students didn’t even know we had a correctional facility out here,” he said. “It’s a good way to challenge the volunteers. There’s a large stigma. To break that is good.”

Fellow KU student and volunteer Evan McCormick said the program is a win-win.

“I think it’s really a benefit for everyone,” he said. “We’re all one community.”

Comments

barlowtl 6 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations for thinking outside the box. Everybody wins.

krissypoetry 6 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations to Jason and all the other volunteers for this program. It sounds great and I wish you much success!

bworster 6 years, 3 months ago

Kudos for Mike Caron, program director at the jail, who has worked to create a national model for rehabilitation as the key to preventing repeat offenses, getting people on a road to a better life. Thanks, Mike.

maudeandcecil 6 years, 3 months ago

Great work! I'm so impressed, all around- the jail staff and inmates, KU students, local community groups, and Henrys.

Mister 6 years, 3 months ago

Now all they need to do is raise some cattle out there. Perhaps some chickens.

Kyle Miller 6 years, 3 months ago

My only question to Mr. Caron would be: How do you decide which to devote more time too.... The "Garden" or your Mosquito/Salamander breeding grounds, I mean..... Wetlands??

Kyle Miller 6 years, 3 months ago

This story was Political from the very get go of it, so... in no way, shape, or form can you try and throw me under the bus about being political!

tomatogrower 6 years, 3 months ago

Good idea. Working with the earth is good for everyone.

volunteer 6 years, 3 months ago

Wonderful idea. This community rocks in so many ways.

jayhawk72 6 years, 3 months ago

photo scared the hell outta me....thought the inmates were kneeling as a form of punishment. ahh..they are just gardening. I think this is a good idea....until someone escapes and takes a sack of tomatoes with them. Are the fences electrical? Inmates need to get sun...vit D..which aids in keeping depression at bay...and a little blue sky will give them something to look forward to when they are killing their time. Would this be considered "work release"?
wow!!! this is the first positive thing I've had to say about the 'Mini-Alcatraz' and those housed inside. Happy gardening!!! Don't eat the fertilizer!!! Don't plant any weed either!!! Wouldn't want the department to get caught up in a grow operation. (damn...i just couldn't do it) :o)

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