Inmates prep for RECAP Garden

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JANESVILLE - Rock County's best kept agricultural secret is ready for spring.

The Rock County Sheriff's Office Education and Criminal Addiction Program (RECAP) Garden is offering a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program once again to give residents access to fresh, locally-grown produce and more.

The CSA program costs $250 for a share that offers weekly baskets of produce each Wednesday from June 19 through October.

Sgt. Jay Williams, RECAP Coordinator, said the program has continued to grow, and to start this season volunteers and over two dozen RECAP inmates have begun organizing equipment and seeds. Williams also said the garden received a major compost donation to boost soil quality for the coming year.

"We are just waiting for the weather to break and the snow to be gone," Williams said.

The garden, tended by volunteers and select inmates of the Rock County Jail, uses about an acre of land to grow a wide variety of produce, flowers and herbs.

Through the CSA program donations and resources from the University of Wisconsin Agriculture Extension office, the RECAP Garden has become a staple to the jail's rehabilitation services, while offering produce each week during the summer. Prices of produce are by donation.

Last year, the garden grew cucumbers, zucchini, squash, sweet corn, carrots, peppers, herbs, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, garlic, pumpkins, squash and watermelon. Williams said the group of around a half dozen volunteers who serve as master gardeners won't let on about what's in store for this harvest season's round of crops.

"They want it to be a surprise," Williams said. "There's always new stuff coming."

Participants work thousands of hours tending to the flower beds and crop rows, and the garden is made up of raised beds, a new herb garden, natural shelter and a high tunnel greenhouse.

Produce will be available for purchase weekly at the garden located to the east of the sheriff's office on Highway 14.

To purchase a CSA share, residents should visit the county's website under the Sheriff's Office Community Corrections tab. Applications are also available from the Community Corrections Office 3506 N. US Highway 51 Janesville.

The garden will be open from 3 - 5 p.m. on Wednesdays to the public starting on June 19, Williams said.

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