Walton Co. Inmates Learn New Skills from Garden Program

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DEFUNIAK SPRINGS Since 2008, inmates from both the Walton County Jail and the Walton Correctional Institution State Prison, plant, weed, water and gather all the vegetables they plant throughout the year through the gardening program.

"It gives the inmates another look at how to grow their own vegetables, and to be self-sufficient,” said Jail Director, Brian Schultz.

Not only are these inmates learning a skill, they're helping jail officials stay within their food budget.

"Fresh vegetables that are right out of the garden are definitely fresher for them than anything that may come out of a can. And they are produced at just a fraction of the cost of what it would cost us to buy that already produced, packaged, canned, and shipped; we kind of cut out the middle man."

It also gives the inmates something to look forward to throughout their day.

Monday was Bobby Chaney's first day in the program.

"It is hard work,” said Chaney.

But even with all the hard work, Chaney says there is one thing he will learn from this program.

"Nothing in particular, just personal maturity,” said Chaney.

"Some guys get out there and learn some valuable traits that they will use later,” stated Schultz.

The inmates at the Walton County Jail just finished picking all their summer veggies, and have recently planted some new items.

The Walton County Jail's garden sits on 14 acres.

Jail officials say before they began this program, the land was not being used.