Horticultural program reaps rewards

GREENPORT—The Inmate Horticulture Program has been a successful and beneficial venture at the Columbia County Jail, according to a press release from Sheriff David P. Bartlett. This program, which began in 2009, provides inmates with instruction in gardening, composting and general horticultural lessons.

29 16blot horticulture

Sheriff David P. Bartlett (crouching) is pictured with Corrections Officer Anthony Cozza and inmates working in the jail vegetable garden. Photo contributed

Inmates who volunteer to participate in this program are selected based on their security classification and institutional record. Once in the program, the inmates that are chosen work on a daily basis in the horticulture area, which is in the secure compound of the Public Safety Facility.

This year work began on the garden during the second week of May and will produce vegetables until about the end of September. Vegetables and herbs planted this year are tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, lettuce, string beans and wax beans, radishes, parsley, basil and rosemary.

Vegetables harvested will be used to supplement meals in the jail.

The Horticulture Program operates at no cost to the county. “This program creates an opportunity for our inmates to learn a valuable skill that will be useful to them once they are released from our facility,” Sheriff Bartlett said in the release.

The sheriff thanked Brian and Sue Geel from Air Compressor Plus in Ghent, who donate a rototiller twice a year for the garden and also the corrections staff for their assistance in maintaining the program.

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