Thomas County Prisoners Are 'Reaping' the Benefits of Garden

By: Caroline Gonzmart Email
By: Caroline Gonzmart Email

In prisons everywhere, there's a struggle to keep ever-growing food costs down while still giving inmates nutritious meals.

The Thomas County Prison has found an effective solution to do both at once while also getting prisoners outdoors and appreciating the 'fruits of their labor.'

The prison's garden provides inmates with a variety of produce ranging from okra to watermelon.

Warden Robert Geer says the venture offsets skyrocketing grocery costs.

Says Geer, "Our cost per week is about seven thousand dollars for food service and we've dropped that to about five thousand now."

Wilmon Clark is the resident green-thumb. He's been the main man tending the produce for more than two years.

Says Clark, "I come out here everyday, pick ... pick and water.

It looks like Clark and other inmates' work is paying off. Geer says they're harvesting 18 to 20 bushels of ripe squash per week and the good stuff just keeps coming.

Geer says in addition to the nutrional value the crops hold, they also help the inmates in a different way.

Says Geer, "A lot of these inmates participated in the seeding and what they see now is overwhelming. I mean, you plant a new seed, you can start over."

Seeds and planting materials for the garden are paid for with the cash inmates spend at the prison store.

Whether it's growing lettuce to eat or turning over a different kind of leaf, many prisoners are using the garden to sow positive seeds of change.

Geer says if finances allow, he'd like to add fruit trees to the bounty in 2012.

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  • by Robert Geer Location: Thomas County Prison on May 25, 2011 at 07:33 AM
    Thanks for the great story WCTV, if your interested in how our farm plant operates and how to start your own garden give the Prison a call for a tour of the feilds and production. 229-226-4394
  • by me Location: here on May 24, 2011 at 09:32 PM
    This is a good thing to would probaly be surprised how many folks are starting to grow their own better get ready.
  • by cheaper to buy it than to farm it. Location: ga on May 24, 2011 at 07:12 PM
    have they got tractors? or mules? a mule can plow 35 acres.
  • by Steve Location: Marietta, Georgia on May 24, 2011 at 04:43 PM
    This is a wonderful thing. It allows the prisoner to have some-sort of vocation, while getting outside, and reaping what is sewn. Some of these men have not seen a farm. Others, have never seen anything-else! Give these guys something to do, and they could be more responsive to this type of rehabilitation. Keep a caged man caged, and he will become a caged animal! I'm just sayin'...
  • by Franklin Location: Tallahassee on May 24, 2011 at 04:03 PM
    In the 50's, the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee had a cornfield that stretched all the way from the warden's residence to the main prison. (1/4 mile at least)
    • reply
      by Anon on May 24, 2011 at 06:00 PM in reply to Franklin
      Whatever? Be it, what it be...Tried and failed...
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