Maryland Inmates Have Picked Nearly 200,000 Pounds of Eastern Shore Produce Destined For the Maryland Food Bank

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Towson, MD (September 23, 2011)---This summer and fall, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has demonstrated yet another example of inmates paying society back in meaningful ways through Public Safety Works: inmates have now picked nearly 200,000 pounds of produce that farmers are donating to the Maryland Food Bank.

Seven farmers in six Eastern Shore counties have dedicated a portion of their land for those in need. All of the produce harvested from that acreage is going directly to the Food Bank, which annually feeds hundreds of thousands of Marylanders.

Since May, Maryland inmates have picked squash, green beans, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, corn, peppers, peaches, and cabbage. The inmates, from low-security pre-release facilities on the Eastern Shore, are thrilled to give back to society in such a meaningful way.

On any given day, more than 400 Division of Correction inmates are learning job skills and developing a strong work ethic through Public Safety Works initiatives in all corners of the state. The programs allow non-profits and communities with limited resources opportunities to accomplish great things.

The Public Safety Works farm gleaning effort has a goal of inmates harvesting a quarter million pounds of produce in its first year. It began in May at Taylorís Fresh Organics outside Federalsburg, where inmates have learned all phases of crop production, as well as the elements of organic farming. Taylorís harvest thus far has exceeded 31,000 pounds of assorted produce. The Wesley Cohee farm in Dorchester County has supplied more than 66,000 pounds of watermelons and cantaloupes.

Members of the media are invited to come out and see this tremendous Public Safety Works initiative in progress. Please contact the PIOs listed on the attached.