Cedar Creek Gardens

By Mr. Anglemyer, inmate technician for the SPP Frog and Turtle Program

The dog days of summer have almost gone which means that it is harvest time for some of the vegetables that are growing here at Cedar Creek Corrections Center.

The gardens are tended by inmates and all the food grown goes to the institution’s kitchen for inmates to eat. Broccoli, cabbage, carrots, corn, peppers, lettuce, beans, squash and pumpkins are all being prepared in the kitchen. There’ll even be a small amount of tomatoes and strawberries.

Cedar Creek Gardens Ready to Harvest. Photo by Joslyn Trivett

Cedar Creek Gardens Ready to Harvest. Photo by Joslyn Trivett.

Last year inmates grew close to twenty thousand pounds of produce. All this food will never see the inside of a can. It has all been grown organically — no pesticides or chemical fertilizers have been used in the growing process. Most of the compost used to amend the soil was made at the prison using leftover kitchen scraps (except for a layer of mushroom compost that was obtained locally).

Adding Cedar Creek Compost to the Soil. Photo by SPP Staff.

Adding Cedar Creek Compost to the Soil. Photo by SPP Staff.

The food will be a welcome change from the normal fare of processed, frozen, canned or bagged produce that is the norm in prisons. It is unfortunate that fresh produce only lasts for a few months, but three months is better than zero months; especially when some inmates among the population haven’t had access to fresh food for years — or even decades. The difference between organically grown garden fresh produce and the frozen, dyed, and chemically grown/preserved stuff is night and day.

Rhubarb Growing Along the Fence. Photo by Sadie Gilliom.

Rhubarb Growing Along the Fence. Photo by Sadie Gilliom.

There are some extra challenges this year due to the drought. We’re worried about water usage here just like everybody else on the west coast, but hopefully the lack of water won’t have a huge effect on crop yields. The inmates are doing a great job of using water efficiently and of recapturing where they can.

Many of us in the population are extremely grateful to the guys from the horticulture program whom work in the gardens, as well as the people at Centralia College and the Sustainability in Prisons Project who do their part in making the gardens possible. Fresh food makes the late summer and fall seasons here at Cedar Creek a special time.

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *