SHREWSBURY, Mass. — Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis personally delivered more than 375 pounds of organic vegetables to the Worcester County Food Bank in Shrewsbury earlier this week. They were picked the same day at the Worcester County House of Corrections by inmates in the prison's agricultural program.
"We cannot thank Sheriff Evangelidis enough for thinking of us today," Bartt Pinchuck, director of operations at the Food Bank, said in a statement released by the sheriff's office. "Our food bank always appreciates receiving locally grown vegetables, and with high demand, this wonderful produce will get distributed to our network of pantries right away."
The Sheriff's Office announced the delivery on Sept. 10.
The Inmate Agricultural Training Program was launched in the spring by the sheriff and state Department of Agriculture on 10 acres of WCSO land appropriated by the Agriculture Dept. It was started with less than $1,000 in seed and fertilizer and is tended during the week by inmate labor.
This year's harvest has yielded over 7,000 ears of sweet corn and 9,000 pounds of additional vegetables, providing inmates with an alternative to the usual canned vegetables, the sheriff office said. It said the program will save more than $15,000 in inmate food costs at the jail.
"I am very proud to be part of the Sheriff's new agriculture program," Brazile Ledgister said in the sheriff's office statement. "I now have new farming and planting skills and a great sense of accomplishment, and knowing these vegetables are helping other people in the community, that is very important to me."
"So many good things have sprouted as a result of our new farming and agriculture program there are already plans to significantly expand it next year," said Evangelidis.