Planting seeds for good food, healthy people

Lettuce Grow

In 2009 Lettuce Grow began its work in one prison garden. We are now working in 13 adult correctional facilities and four youth correctional facilities around Oregon,  where we bring volunteers and horticultural education to inmates. In 2015 Lettuce Grow merged with Growing Gardens, extending our garden education services to incarcerated adults and children.

We provide educational and gardening experiences to people who are incarcerated in the state of Oregon. Youth and adults, who are incarcerated, are one of the least served populations in our society.  By bringing gardening and gardening education to them we create positive experiences which can aid an inmate’s successful reentry into society.

We provide the following class for inmates:

  • Oregon Food Bank’s Seed to Supper Class
  • Oregon State University Extension Services-Sustainable Gardening Class
  • Lettuce Grow Greenhouse Management Class

Along with offering classes, our volunteers work side by side with the inmates in the correction institution’s gardens, providing hands on practical gardening instruction and friendship to incarcerated individuals.

In youth facilities, as well as teaching classes, we build garden boxes and greenhouses which give the youthful offenders the opportunity to have the full gardening experience, which will enhance their appreciation of gardening and the natural world.

More than 500 inmates have graduated from our Sustainable Gardening class, and 250 have received certificates of completion from the Seed to Supper class. Upon successful competition of the Sustainable Gardening class, our students receive a Certificate of Home Horticulture, a recognized Oregon job credential. The Oregon Department of Corrections recognizes Lettuce Grow as one of the most successful and cost-effect programs offered to inmates. While the inmate recidivism rate in the United States is over 50% and in Oregon about 30%, the Lettuce Grow student’s rate is 8%.

In 2015 Lettuce Grow worked with prison gardens to produce more than 284,000 pounds of food for prison kitchens, a benefit to taxpayers and the health of inmates. An additional 51,000 pounds went to local food banks across the state of Oregon.

We Provide: 

  • A creative, hands-on educational learning experience for adult and Juvenile inmate across Oregon
  • Increases hope and self-esteem
  • Provides inmates with a recognized job credential
  • Encourages inmates to pursue horticulture internships and degrees after release
  • Builds positive relationships among staff, inmates and people outside the correctional system
  • Teaches inmates new organizational and problem-solving skills, teamwork and cooperation
  • Provides healthier, lower-cost additions to prison                                                           menus





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