Jail inmates hold ‘garden market’ of produce grown through horticulture program

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) A garden sale will be held Friday with produce grown through the horticulture program with inmates housed within the Salt Lake County Jail system.

The garden, which produces about 20,000 pounds of produce a year, consists of about three acres of cultivated land, two greenhouses, three hoop houses, a chicken coop, and a pond.

The inmates, and staff, grow tomatoes, garlic, peppers, peas, chard, lettuces, potatoes, pumpkins, strawberries, grapes, blackberries, flowers, herbs, and much more.

The majority of the food is donated to local senior centers and the food bank. Traditionally, the produce was sold at local farmers’ markets but due to COVID-19, restrictions that is not possible at this time.

Occasionally, a market is set up for county employees. On Friday, September 25, the market is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 3415 South 900 West in South Salt Lake.

The Salt Lake County Jail Horticulture Program can have up to 24 inmates involved at a time. They are taught classes by Jail Horticulturists and volunteers in many aspects such as mulching, soil conditioning, planting, trimming, grafting, pest control, husbandry, the care of animals, and more.

Currently, the majority of the classes have been suspended and the number of prisoner workers in the program has been reduced due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

The program also oversees a 1-acre pond and in coordination with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the pond is used for the raising of the Least Chub an endangered Utah native fish.

Prisoners, who are supervised by Salt Lake County Sheriff Deputies, assist in wildlife management, and the remainder of the site is used to teach prisoners landscaping skills.

The Horticulture Program is also gearing up for our Sheriff’s Office Annual Pumpkin Deliveries.

Inmates and deputies from the Oxbow Jail grow pumpkins to give children at the Hartvigsen School, the School for the Deaf and Blind, and the Family Support Center- Lifestart Village. Year after year, our Pumpkin Delivery has been an incredible event for the Sheriff’s Office organization to give back to the community. 

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