Prison Horticulture Programs Donate Thousands of Pounds of Food to Local Food Banks


Governor Pat McCrory announced that during the past year, inmates at state prisons and juveniles at a youth development center raised more than 35,800 pounds of fresh produce and donated it to local food banks and other service organizations as part of an ongoing initiative to fight hunger in local communities.

“DPS horticulture programs have yielded massive donations to feed low-income seniors and families across North Carolina, while teaching inmates valuable work and life skills they’ll need to turn their lives around,” said Governor McCrory.

Winter gardens and warmer than usual weather allowed inmates at prisons and a youth development center in North Carolina to continue raising fresh produce that was donated to food banks and other social service organizations as late as December. These efforts were focused at the seven prisons that are participating in the Combating Hunger project: Brown Creek Correctional Institution; Pamlico Correctional Institution; Robeson CRV (probation violation center); Odom Correctional Institution; Pender Correctional Institution; Johnston Correctional Institution; and Southern Correctional Institution.

Started last spring, the project is a partnership between the N.C. Department of Public Safety and the national non-profit group Harvest Now. The project’s goal is to fight hunger and improve health in our communities. One of the strategies for doing this is supplying hungry families with healthier food options like fresh produce, traditionally an expensive and scarce commodity in North Carolina food banks. The Combating Hunger project and other efforts have ensured there is more produce available in the banks this year.

“We feel the DPS programs that are donating so much fresh produce to those who cannot afford to feed themselves are beneficial to our communities and their citizens’ quality of life, as well as to the inmates and offenders who raise the crops,” said Secretary of Public Safety Frank L. Perry. “They learn agricultural skills, and perhaps more importantly, they learn from their labor the value of hard work and of helping others who are in need.”

In addition to the prisons working with the Combating Hunger project, Caledonia Prison Farm donated 14,700 pounds of turnip greens to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina in December. Caledonia also donated sweet corn to the bank during the summer.

The youths of Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center also raised 700 pounds of produce that was donated to Cabarrus County Meals on Wheels.

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