The Missouri Department of Corrections has increased the amount of produce they contribute to local food pantries. The department ended this year with 64 tons of food, a 44-percent increase when compared to the 28 tons they donated last year. Click to hear Director George Lombardi:
Information from the Missouri Department of Corrections
Offenders within the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) have produced more than 60 tons of produce through the Restorative Justice Garden Program, and distributed the food to local food pantries throughout the state.
For many of the food pantries, the offender-grown produce is the only fresh produce that is offered to people in need. Some examples of produce grown at the institutions include tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash, cucumbers, carrots, green beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, okra, onions, jalapeno peppers, potatoes, and pumpkins.
“The efforts of our staff and our offenders are helping the less fortunate throughout the state,” said DOC Director George A. Lombardi. “This year’s harvest is significantly higher than last year’s and is a testament to their hard work and dedication. Restorative Justice holds the offender accountable and provides a means for them to help repay their debt to society.”
Western Missouri Correctional Center (WMCC) in Cameron is the DOC’s top producer thus far with more than 23,008 pounds of produce. The Farmington Correctional Center (FCC) has donated nearly 18,478 pounds while the Jefferson City Correctional Center has raised nearly 16,436 pounds of produce.
Offenders typically start cultivating the food plots in April, while the harvesting usually begins in July and ends in late fall. All of the seeds and plants for the gardens are donated to the DOC facilities; in return, all of the produce grown is then donated to local food pantries. No produce is kept by the institutions.
In 2010 the DOC donated 28 tons of produce grown through the Restorative Justice Garden Program to food pantries. Restorative Justice is an ancient philosophy that addresses criminal behavior with the fundamental belief that when a crime is committed, a debt is incurred.