Department of Corrections program donates 180 tons of produce
JEFFERSON CITY - The Restorative Justice Garden Program has donated 180 tons of fresh produce this year, making this the third year in a row to set a record for donated food.
The Missouri Department of Corrections Restorative Justice program grows and donates a variety of produce every year.
All of the food grown is donated to local food pantries, shelters, churches, nursing homes, and school districts throughout the state.
The produce is grown at 19 of the 20 adult institutions and three of the community supervision centers within the state.
"Our garden program is one of the many Restorative Justice Programs within the department where offenders learn about compassion and altruistic behavior, which is something that many of them lack. These programs also provide offenders a means for them to repay their debt to their communities by giving something back," said George A. Lombardi, director of the Missouri Department of Corrections.
The seeds and plants are all donated to the institutions and, in return, all of the food is donated back.
Offenders start the garden plots in April and typically harvest from July to late fall.
As well as donating produce, tomato plants are also donated to local food pantries and senior centers.
The Jefferson City Correctional Center was the department's top producer this year with nearly 31 tons of produce donated. Boonville Correctional Center came in second with nearly 27 tons, according to a statement from the corrections department.