November 21, 2014

In June of 2013, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Inverness Jail Garden was unveiled as a new opportunity for inmates at the jail to give back to the community. This garden, initially made up of 12 raised beds and this year expanded to 16 raised beds, is located just east of the jail’s security fence. The garden is seeded, weeded and harvested by the Inverness Jail inmates, with help from volunteers, and the County Farmer, Jerry Hunter. A variety of vegetables are grown in the raised beds, all of which are donated weekly throughout the growing season to SnowCap Community Charities. In the initial 2013 growing season inmates grew and donated about 800 lbs of produce. During this year’s growing season, with the expansion of the raised beds, over 1,200 lbs of vegetables were harvested from the garden. The vegetables are grown organically, and inmates participating with the garden learn skills they can put to productive use when they are released.

“The garden is an opportunity for inmates to participate in a positive experience that gives back to the community” says Sustainable Jails Coordinator and MCSO PIO Steve Alexander. County Farmer, Jerry Hunter, is focused on growing even more food next year. “This has been a really positive experience for everyone involved” said Hunter, “Next year we will introduce more flowering plants to attract pollinators, which will boost our yields even more.” The Inverness Jail Inmate Garden is an initiative of the Sustainable Jails Project, which is an ongoing collaboration between the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and the Multnomah County Office of Sustainability.

If you would like to learn more about the CROPS farm or the Sustainable Jails Project just click the link below: