Inmates grow roots as jailhouse farmers
April 12th, 2010
02:15 PM ET
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For a crop of Florida inmates, green acres is the place to be.

Five days a week, a vanload of inmates in blue jumpsuits makes a 15-minute trip to the University of Florida's West Florida Research and Education Center from Berrydale Forestry Camp, a low-risk satellite facility of Century Correctional Institution.

The program took root in 2009, when the 650-acre publicly funded research farm faced some harsh state budget cuts. Short on hands and strapped for cash, the research center decided to reach out to an unlikely source: the Florida Department of Corrections, said William Wendt, the Alternative Crops Program manager at the research farm.

As for the inmates, they most certainly reap what they sow. In the winter, it's collards, cabbage and turnips. Spring brings snap peas, sweet corn and tomatoes.

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