Mo Prisioners Find Way to Harvest for Food Pantry

Missouri inmates have a green thumb when it comes to growing fruits and vegetables.
By Laura Davidson (Columbia, Mo.)

The prisoners produced more than 50 tons of fresh fruits and vegetables this year, up from 29 tons in 2010. This comes at a time when record-breaking numbers of Mid-Missourians are relying on food pantries. Chris Dumas helps run the pantry at the First United Methodist Church in Jefferson City. She said it has distributed more than one ton of the produce.

“When we’re sharing the produce with our patron, we try to tell them where it’s from. The offenders are not allowed to benefit from anything they do in any way. And so, this is truly, they are giving themselves away,” Dumas said.

The food pantry feeds approximately 300 people each week. Dumas says no other organization is able to donate fresh produce in the quantity that comes from the Department of Corrections. More than seventeen thousand pounds of the total was grown at Jefferson City’s two correctional facilities.