Minnesota prisoners could soon be gardening and supplying food shelves, if a measure passed by the Minnesota legislature becomes law.
The proposal would create a gardening program at the state's correctional facilities. The food would be used to feed inmates, and the excess would be donated to food shelves or charities located near the correctional facilities.
The program would save money on prison food — and would also serve an important role in the community, said Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, who sponsored the provision in the House. He based the proposal on similar programs in other states, which he says are working well.
"In our current economic situation, there's a lot of demand on food shelves," Gruenhagen said. "And I think it'd be beneficial for local communities close to the correctional facilities that they'd have a nice source of fresh fruits and vegetables for the families that are in a difficult economic situation either through a lose of job or through other circumstances."
The measure is part of an omnibus corrections bill headed to Gov. Mark Dayton.
"It saves money, obviously, for the food they do grow. And they generally grow more food than what they can consume," Gruenhagen said. "The result is the food shelves and charities — they can donate the excess there."
That donated food would go to food shelves near the correctional facilities.