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Inmate Gardeners: Utah Co. Jail helps put 50,000 pounds of food in Utah Food Bank

UTAH COUNTY JAIL — A program at the Utah County Jail is teaching inmates to be gardeners and putting about 50,000 pounds of food into the Utah Food Bank every year.

inmate gardeners

Jose Calderon talks about how the gardening program in the Utah County Jail has helped him. Photo: KSL TV

Jose Calderon says that working in the jail greenhouse has helped him realize that he can make a difference.

“I can come out here and make a difference in the community and [learn how to] love myself and others,” Calderon said.

Sheriff’s Deputy Greg Jarvis says that many of these inmate gardeners are doing something that they’ve never done before, and it’s giving them life skills at the same time.

“Some of them say ‘I’ve never seen anything through my entire life,’ and [this] gives them a chance to start something and see it through,” he said.

inmate gardeners

Sheriff’s Deputy Greg Jarvis. Photo: KSL TV

Many of the plants that are grown in the garden don’t just go to the Food Bank, but also are used around the jail as well as other county buildings to brighten up and beautify the property.

Inmates who successfully complete the program are placed with businesses around Utah Valley when they’re released.