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The Green Life: Behind Bars, But Ahead of the Sustainability Curve

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May 20, 2010

Behind Bars, But Ahead of the Sustainability Curve

ProduceFor the inmates at Washington’s Stafford Creek Corrections Center, sustainable gardening is a part of daily life – and those who work the soil within the prison get to enjoy  the benefits of gardening, namely, stress reduction and better health through exercise and pesticide-free produce.

Inmates eat the organic fruits and vegetables that they plant and maintain while learning about the advantages of composting, recycling, and spending time outdoors to grow their own food.

The idea for the project originated at Evergreen State College, headed by professor and ecologist Nalini Nadkarni. The program for the Washington state prisons is designed to lower the system's food costs and cut down on carbon emissions by limiting transportation of food and waste.

While the project at the prison has accomplished environment-related goals, there have been other encouraging outcomes of getting inmates outdoors to care for the gardens. Officials report that there has been a decrease in violence among the people working with the program.

--Kristin Baldwin

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