Fruitful labor at county farm
July 18, 2001
While the monetary value of their work may not be all that great, at least not yet, inmates at the Lauderdale County Detention Facility have demonstrated they can grow some of their own food. It's a good start.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie convinced the board of supervisors to try the operation on an acre of land behind the Hilltop House for Boys. A few days ago, seeing the success brought by the inmates' commitment to the project, District 4 Supervisor Q.V. Sykes opened up another four acres off Lover's Lane.
In a comment which pretty much summed it up, Sykes said to Sollie, "We promised you we'd give you a garden, and we said if it worked, we'd provide you with enough land to call it a field, so as of today we're giving you a field."
The first harvest on the single acre yielded 240 pounds of tomatoes, 82 pounds of squash, 241 pounds of okra, three pounds of hot peppers, 2 pounds and four ounces of bell peppers, 131 pounds of butter beans and 109 pounds of purple hull peas. The total value of the first month's crops, based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's wholesale value, was about $600.
Sollie reasons that's $600 in food costs county taxpayers won't have to bear. Plus, the watermelons and cantaloupes haven't been harvested yet.
More telling than the dollar value is the sense of pride demonstrated by prisoners in the project. It is, literally, fruitful labor.