WHITEHALL, Wis. (TREMPEALEAU COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE NEWS RELEASE) -- Sheriff Richard Anderson of the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office, along with Court Services, UW Extension, and Trempealeau County Health Care Center are working together to establish a joint garden project. The garden will be located near the Health Care Center on County owned property. The garden will be maintained by low risk inmates of the Trempealeau County Jail, Health Care Center clients, court ordered community service workers, and community volunteers. The opportunity to work in the garden will be added to the work sites offered through the Vocational Rehabilitation Department at the Trempealeau County Health Care Center. The project will be overseen by county personnel and a master gardener, beginning next year.
Sheriff Anderson says produce may be sold at a local farmers market with funds used to offset cost of the garden, donated to the local food pantry, and used in inmate and client meals. Produce will include fresh vegetables, fruits, pumpkins, and/or herbs. Inmates working in the garden may earn one day of credit for every 24 hours worked which saves the taxpayers money in housing costs. Future plans would be to incorporate a community garden with plots available for the public.
"The garden project is an excellent example of a win-win for our community, by creating a program that will benefit the lives of the inmate gardeners and the community at-large," said Steve Okonek, Trempealeau County UW_Extension Ag Agent. "By growing their knowledge of quality food and nutrition, inmates will grow important life skills to help them with a positive transition from jail to community after their sentences are served. Examples from a similar garden project yielded results such as improving their resumes, seeking careers in horticulture, increasing time for reflection and restoration, and positive changes in attitude," said Catherine Emmanuelle, Trempealeau County Family Living Educator. The Trempealeau County UW-Extension office looks forward to this partnership in Trempealeau County.
The project will be funded by grants and/or community donations. We are seeking community volunteers, donations, gardening supplies and equipment. If you are interested in contributing or becoming a volunteer, please contact Huber Officer Sarah Matchey of whom has been assigned to oversee the project at Trempealeau County Jail at 715-538-2311, ext. 452 or e-mail: email@example.com