“This garden gives a connection to the community, and the inmates gain from giving to it,” said Dennis Cullinane, executive director of the food bank. “It’s good for everybody.”
Sheriff Larry Smith, who took on the ongoing project when he was elected, said he has high hopes for the effects of the garden on the prisoners.
Cullinane noted that the garden, which produces 110,000 pounds of produce, has another benefit.
“It exposes our client to better food choices,” he said.
For the past six months, the Smith County Agricultural Extension Office has conducted research in the garden as well. The group is researching crops that benefit the soil in which they’re planted and how to prevent ground worms, Ashley Pellerin, extension agent, said. “It adds another positive educational component.”