Lettuce Grow brings Sustainable Gardening Education to Correctional Facilities in Oregon.
The Lettuce Grow Foundation is an Oregon nonprofit established to develop and transform vegetable gardens inside our correctional facilities. We train volunteers to garden with inmates, we educate on sustainability and organic gardening practices, and we encourage prisons to donate a portion of harvests to local food banks. We help fill the gap left by budget cuts in prison vocation and education programs.
We began our work with one prison garden in 2007. This year we are working in 12 of Oregon’s correctional facilities. We have recruited steady and experienced volunteers, and have slowly worked to establish our sustainable gardening program for inmates. This both improves the gardens, generates food bank donations, and gives inmates a credential for job search when they are released. Our development plans include creating a greenhouse management class and a permaculture class.
We are passionate about the positive power of gardening!
Our Garden Program Provides:
- A creative, educational learning experience as an alternative to unproductive “bunk time”
- Establishes positive relations among staff, inmates, and citizens outside the prison system
- Increases hope and self-esteem
- Provides classes for inmates leading to the Oregon State University Extension Home Horticultural Certificate, the first step to becoming Oregon Master Gardeners
- Encourages some inmates to pursue community college horticulture degrees after release
- Teaches inmates new organizational skills, such as teamwork and cooperation
- Helps provide healthier, lower-cost alternatives to prison menus, a benefit to inmates and taxpayers
- Includes academic subjects such as composting, soil amendments, seed germination, integrated pest control and organic farming techniques, all useful as future job credentials