“We’re going to raise some produce and have the inmates work it, plant it, produce it, harvest it, and we’re also going to serve that produce to the population in the jail. We’re going to have potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes and some melons, too.”
Dulin says they’re starting out with vegetables but are looking to expand to growing flowers in a greenhouse if one can be purchased with grant funds or donated. He envisions putting them in planters in downtown Knox, North Judson and Hamlet. Dulin adds if anyone has a greenhouse to donate the inmate work crew can come dismantle it and set it up at the jail. Shaw’s Fertilizer and Grow Your Own Garden Supply have already provided fertilizer and plants for the project, and local farmer Bruce Bennett offered his tractor to till the soil. Inmates have already planted potatoes and onions. Additional crops will be planted when the weather warms up.
Dulin says working in the garden will give inmates a chance to get some fresh air and learn life skills they can use after they get out of jail. A few other counties, including Pulaski, have inmate vegetable gardens. Once Starke County’s is fully established it will be one of the larger ones in the state.