Garden Helps Jail Save Money and Improve Inmates' Diets

Garden Helps Jail Save Money and Improve Inmates' Diets

One garden has kept inmates busy as their hard work benefits the facility and their own diets. <!--[endif]---->
WINCHESTER, VA - The Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center is going back to its roots. What was once small seeds have blossomed into a spacious garden behind the barracks.

It has cut food costs for the facility and even improved inmates' diets.

"We ate fried squash today for lunch and it was great," says Johnny Vaness, an inmate of eight months.

The garden was started in 2011 and just last year, it has saved the facility at least $1,000 in food costs.

"What we're concentrating on for this year is green beans. We're trying to get enough that they can actually freeze and have some put back in the winter," says Denzil Cooper, correctional sergeant.

More greens means more vitamins for the inmates' diets, something they say is a relief from canned foods.

"You get a lot of fresh vegetables, it's way better than canned. I mean, it's more of what you want," says David Gray, inmate of eight months.

"It's like we gain a lot of weight and when we know we're getting something fresh and good, it makes us want to eat it and some of us lose weight, a lot of weight," says Dezerae Ford, an inmate of approximately six months.

Jail officials are looking to build a greenhouse, something that will cost the facility at least $1,000 but it can save and bring in money.

"If we can get enough seedlings going, what we use in the garden and what's leftover, I have a possibility of maybe selling it like a farmer's market or something, and that will bring the money back," adds Cooper.

Cooper says the greenhouse proposal is a done deal and plans to build it sometime in September.



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