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Over 100 pounds of fresh organic produce grown at the jail farm in West Boylston were donated and delivered to the West Boylston Senior Center by Sheriff Evangelidis and staff on Wednesday, August 26th.  Shown from left are: WCSO Officer Shaun Mullaney, Sheriff Evangelidis, West Boylston Senior Center Director Lisa Clark Vicklund, Volunteer Marty Adams, WCSO Farming Director Officer John Travaglio, Volunteer Sandy Flynn and Dining Manager Doris Johnson.

By: Worcester Magazine, 9/6/2020

WEST BOYLSTON – For the past 10 years, the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction has been home to the largest working organic farm located at a correctional facility in the Commonwealth. Tended to by inmates who qualify and volunteer for the program and by maintenance staff at the jail, the 15-acre farm grows bell peppers, cabbage, celery, corn, green beans, zucchini, squashes, eggplant, tomatoes and, in the fall, a bumper crop of pumpkins.

“The mission of our farm is to feed both our inmate population and to help feed the hungry in our community,” said Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.

During the harvest season, the jail donates and delivers on average 300 to 500 pounds per day of fresh organic vegetables to food pantries, meals programs, veterans groups and community centers throughout Worcester County to help those who struggle with food insecurity.

On Wednesday, Aug. 26, the sheriff and members from the Sheriff’s Department farming staff dropped off freshly-picked prison produce at the West Boylston and Clinton senior centers (see a photo from Clinton in the Aug. 28 Item). Each location received between 100 and 200 pounds of fresh organic produce grown at the jail.

“This is such a wonderful act of kindness by the sheriff. Especially during this challenging time, this generous donation of organic vegetables will help so many,” said West Boylston Senior Center Director Lisa Clark Viklund. “We greatly appreciate the sheriff always thinking of us now and throughout the year.”

Evangelidis said his staff is proud to be home to the region’s largest working organic farm at a correctional facility.

“This farm gives back in many ways; helping our inmates with the dignity of work while acquiring the skills and patience of farming all while knowing they are helping so many folks in need in our community,” Evangelidis added. “Last year, our farm fed both our inmate population and over 30,000 pounds of fresh produce was donated to help feed the hungry. So far this growing season, Mother Nature has been very kind and we are on track for an even more bountiful harvest.