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MaCI to Donate Produce

MaCI to Donate Produce

Harvest-time has arrived for the offenders and workers at the Madison Correctional Institute (MaCI). Inside the grounds, nearly 45 offenders are working to collect produce from gardens planted specifically for the purpose of donating their bounty to the community.

In total, there are five gardens on the premises, planted and maintained by offenders, as part of a program that has been around for four years. Lisa Crain, a case manager overseeing the project and working with the offenders, said the gardens function to both offer them community service hours and a way they can give back.

“To date, they have harvested 3,795 pounds of produce,” Crain said. “And this year we’re going to beat last year’s numbers.”

The produce goes out to a number of organizations in the community including H.E.L.P. House, A Friend’s House and the food pantries of Mount Sterling and West Jefferson. Their goal is to be able to provide for those in need or without access to good, healthy food.

“The gardens are all organic,” said Crain. “They don’t use any chemicals and wash the vegetables thoroughly before they go out.” She said they take great pride in cultivating a quality bunch to send to the organizations.The job is a physical one in every aspect, from weeding to watering. Rather than conventional garden hoses being available for watering, the offenders haul wheelbarrows of water barrels around and hand-pump the water. The work has become a point of pride for all involved.

“It’s a way for us to give back,” said Alonzo, another of the offenders working on the grounds. “It’s something positive we can carry with us when we leave.”

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