June 25, 2013

Sheriff Dan Staton, with help from Chair Jeff Cogen, celebrated the first harvest of vegetables from the Inverness Jail Garden. The garden is a new initiative of the Sustainable Jails Project (SJP), launched by the Sheriff’s Office in April 2012. At the one-year anniversary of the project's inauguration, the Sheriff’s Office is looking to go beyond green, with the goal to not only reduce the economic and environmental costs of incarceration, but also to address the human cost of jails. That means pursuing programming and partnerships that connect inmates with nature, match inmate needs with appropriate programming, and pursue innovations that create a safer environment for both inmates and staff.

The Inverness Jail Garden not only connects inmates with nature, but also allows inmates a chance to give back to their community in a positive way. Food grown at the garden is donated to the Oregon Food Bank. This past week, inmates harvested over 100 lbs of organically grown carrots and beets. In addition, volunteers are now teaching Seed to Supper classes to inmates. Seed to Supper, a program offered by the Oregon Food Bank, is a comprehensive class that gives adult learners the tools they need to successfully grow a portion of their own food on a limited budget, which promotes a healthy, active lifestyle through gardening.

Sheriff Staton also took the opportunity to thank the many volunteers who have made these new programs possible and celebrate the partnership with the Oregon Food Bank. For more information,  check out the Portland Tribune or the Oregonian.