Worcester County Jail Has 14-Acre Organic Farm - NECN
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Worcester County Jail Has 14-Acre Organic Farm

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A small business is thriving in a pretty unlikely location: it's a farming program helping Worcester County inmates and the local community.

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017)

    It is an organic farm in one of the most unlikely of places. Tomatoes, squash, green beans and the like growing in the shadow of barbed wire from the Worcester County Jail.

    "A lot of people don't realize the farm even exists up here," corrections officer Bryan Almstrom said.

    County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis says the farm, which sits on 14-acres next to the jail, is producing quite the cash crops. An investment in $347 of seeds this year is more than paid for itself.

    "The first thing we do is make sure we provide the food to the jail and we've saved about $30,000 in food costs in providing a quality organic vegetable to the jail," Sheriff Evangelidis said. 

    Inmates do most of the labor. On Tuesday, several inmates were picking green beans. Most of the organic produce goes feed inmates, cutting down on food bills for the jail. The rest goes to soup kitchens and food pantries in nearby Worcester.

    "This is what people are looking for," Bill Riley with St. John's Food For the Poor, said. "You don't see it around, you don't see this kind of stuff, the fresh vegetables out there."

    The Sheriff says the jail is always looking to expand operations, including recently building a greenhouse to grow vegetables year round.

    "This is medicine for people and it also educates people," the Sheriff said. "It is unbelievably good you can eat it right off the vine!"

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