THE SHIAWASSEE COUNTY Sheriff’s Office showed off the Jail Garden to the community on Thursday, Aug. 29. The two-acre garden, located in front of the county’s work release/probation/parole building on Shiawassee Street in Corunna, was created last year and includes a wide variety of vegetables, including tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, summer squash, winter squash, green beans, spinach, peppers, eggplant and rhubarb, as well as sunflowers and pumpkins. As of Aug. 29, more than 8,000 pounds of produce had been harvested this year, most of which has been donated to more than 25 local food banks throughout the county.
Commissioner Dan McMaster (right) has been instrumental in creating the Jail Garden, lending both his gardening expertise and his labor, routinely working up to 60 hours per week in the garden. The entire McMaster family has chipped in, as has Commissioner Cindy Garber, and two to six Shiawassee County inmates spend time in the garden every day. To Sheriff Brian BeGole, the Jail Garden has been an overwhelmingly positive experience.
“This has been very well received by the community and we’re proud of what we have accomplished here,” shared BeGole on Aug. 29. “We are still learning and experimenting with different vegetables, but we expanded the garden from a quarter-acre last year to two acres this year, and we are on track to significantly increase how much we harvest this year. It has been a feel-good story all the way around. Not only are we able to help local food banks, but inmates who previously would have been sitting on a bunk are now learning a skill and taking responsibility. Some of them even commented that they used food pantries growing up and have enjoyed providing this service to the community.”
Sheriff BeGole and Commissioner McMaster can be seen standing in the garden during the community open house on Thursday, Aug. 29.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)