Eastern Shore prison gives back to the community

WESTOVER, Md. – In Somerset County, where almost 782 pounds of free food is now available to the community thanks to the Eastern Correctional Institution.

On Wednesday, the prison celebrated their first garden harvest of the season from the inmate tended gardens. ECI works with the Somerset and Wicomico Counties Health Departments to push these boxes of food out to those who need it most at places like churches and shelters.

A health educator for the Somerset health department told us this is a great way for their partners to help community members in a cheap way, especially with food prices being high right now.

“Because the prices are going up, because it’s free, it’s giving them a chance to have those vegetables and not having to worry about going into a grocery store and not being able to afford those things,” Kalia Wight, Health Educator with the Somerset Health Dept., said.

This year the fresh produce includes Chinese cabbage, spinach, and more. We are told they had 51 boxes of produce total coming from two gardens on Wednesday. ECI’s warden said she’s pleased to hear how much the garden harvest project is making a difference in the community, but it’s also keeping incarcerated people engaged. 

“Overall, it’s good for our incarcerated person population to be able to give back to the community,” ECI Warden Deborah Darden said. “It helps the community overall by supporting them and their endeavor to keep the community fed.”

There is a third garden at ECI but those vegetables haven’t been harvested yet. We are told since the garden project started in 2014 more than 45 tons of produce have been grown and donated. 

They hope to continue to grow the program as the years go on.

Categories: Local News, Maryland