Prison farms donates food to Idaho food banks

Last year, inmates from South Idaho Correctional Institution gave back to society in a tangible way — by growing nearly 45 tons of fresh produce to fill pantries at the Idaho Foodbank. That was enough fresh produce to feed about 12,000 people for one week.

The prison farm, which exists because of a partnership between the food bank, local businesses and the prison, is thriving again.

Inmates have planted six acres of red potatoes, carrots and green beans on the grounds at the Idaho Department of Correction. The garden sits on land that had been fallow for more than a decade before the partnership took off last year.

Food bank and prison officials started meeting back in February to plan the growing season, said Jenifer Johnson, vice president of development at the food bank.

“They work with us and grow what we need, and we look at what’s easy to grow, based on their irrigation system,” she said. Spuds, carrots and beans have relatively long shelf life — in addition to their nutritional assets — making them perfect for a foodbank, she added.

Not that they spent a lot of time on the shelf last year

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