10 Jul 2024

First Season For Community-To-Corrections Garden in Machias

Real Maine / About Us / Blog / Farm Stories / First Season For Community-To-Corrections Garden in Machias

Downeast Restorative Harvest (DERH) is a community-to-corrections garden and food access program in its first season and will supply fresh vegetables to the Washington County Jail in Machias and local food security organizations.

Healthy Acadia and volunteers maintain the garden in Machias. Resident and kitchen staff input has helped design the garden and the types of vegetables that will be grown, including winter squash, green beans, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, beets, zucchini, and more.

Five prison residents from Downeast Correctional Facility have worked in the garden, and there are plans for them to return. Healthy Acadia is working to have Washington County Jail residents work in the garden, however, staff shortages, sentencing issues, and ineligibility for community work projects are current barriers. In the future, they hope to involve more prison and jail residents.

DERH partners with the Maine Department of Corrections, the Washington County Jail, and other community organizations and is located on county-owned land. Local farms have provided support and seedlings, and community members have volunteered in the garden several times a week. DERH now has a shed, irrigation, and a rototiller and plans to grow 3,000 pounds of produce in its inaugural season. Funding for this project has come from USDA Rural Development, through the Congressionally Directed Spending process, Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, John T. Gorman Foundation, and individual donors.

To learn more about Maine’s Local Foods Procurement Program and how to increase farm-to-institution sales, contact Brittany Peats, Maine DACF Institutional Market Development Coordinator, at brittany.peats@maine.gov.