At the center of CoreCivic's Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Conneaut, Ohio, lies a bountiful and productive vegetable garden, which is cared for by staff and residents who volunteer to tend it regularly. But the garden's produce isn't hoarded for consumption by staff and residents at the facility. Rather, the garden's harvest is donated to the local community.
With summer coming to a close, the garden attendants recently gathered a final seasonal vegetable harvest of about 315 pounds for donation to the Conneaut Food Bank. The crop included tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, cabbage and more.
One resident, who has tended the garden at Lake Erie for more than six years, believes his gardening work has helped him learn humility and patience. He says the garden also gives him an opportunity to reach out to the community and help those who face food insecurity.
In 2023 alone, the garden produced approximately 545 pounds of food. The Lake Erie garden program has been in place for about eight years, and has been enjoyed by many.