CLINTON – For over a decade, inmates have been growing fresh produce in the organic garden at the Worcester County Jail. Harvests have not only benefitted dozens of Worcester County food banks, senior centers, soup kitchens, veteran groups and charitable organizations, but also inmates at the jail.
Recently, Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis visited Sharing is Caring in Clinton to deliver over 100 pounds of fresh zucchinis and squash. In addition to this delivery, nearly 3,500 pounds of fresh produce have already been dispersed to local organizations. Every day, inmates pick and wash the produce before it is distributed throughout the county.
The 14-plus acre operation produces roughly 500 pounds of fresh produce every day. By the end of the growing season, harvests total approximately 40,000 pounds of produce. From zucchini to apples, a wide array of crops are grown at the West Boylston facility.
“We are so grateful for the delivery of fresh vegetables,” said Sharing is Caring Director Janice Ryan. “During a difficult time for many, Sheriff Lew Evangelidis and the Worcester County Sheriff’s office go above and beyond for our community. These vegetables will benefit the many individuals and families who regularly patronize our store.”
Since taking office in 2011, Evangelidis has remained committed to developing the organic garden and being dedicated to the communities he represents. The Worcester County Jail boasts the largest organic farm on a correctional facility in Massachusetts.
“The organic garden positively impacts many organizations throughout Worcester County,” Evangelidis said. “In addition to our charitable work, thousands of pounds of produce are used here in kitchens of the West Boylston facility to feed the inmate population. The organic farm initiative equates to tens of thousands of dollars in food cost savings. With soaring food costs, it is more important now than ever before to provide fresh produce to those who can least afford it.”