Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 8, 2012

Payne County Jail garden saves money, helps others

STILLWATER, Okla. — A garden planted and maintained by Payne County jail staff and inmates is serving up savings as well as fresh meals.

Jail administrator Reese Lane said since the program started a conservative estimate of grocery savings is $10,000. The jail spends about $20,000 on groceries each month.

Lane said the garden has also had an effect on inmates.

“They treat it like their own garden,” Lane said. “They jump out of the truck and are eager to work.”

The garden has been so bountiful that the jail makes weekly food donations to the Payne County Youth Shelter and Mission of Hope. Lane said each facility receives several bushels of fresh produce a week.

“We are very grateful,” said Rachel Nichols, youth guidance specialist at the youth shelter. “The sheriff’s department has been so gracious.” Nichols said the shelter is on a budget so fresh fruit and vegetables can be hard to come by. The shelter houses children who have been removed from unsafe environments and need a safe home.

Fresh beets, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, okra and tomatoes are some of the vegetables being grown. The garden also has an abundance of canteloupe, Lane said.

The program began early this year after the sheriff’s department saw successful implementation of gardens in other counties. Land and a water truck were donated.

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