Lettuce Grow


In 2010 Lettuce Grow began its work in one prison garden. We are now working in 16 adult and juvenile  facilities.  Into these these facilitates  we bring volunteers who garden with and provide horticultural education to inmates. In 2015 Lettuce Grow merged with Growing Gardens, extending our garden education services and offering to more incarcerated adults and children throughout Oregon.

Youth and adults who are incarcerated are one of the least served populations in our society.  Within the criminal justice system, little infrastructure is created for the education and holistic reform of inmates. The Lettuce Grow program partners with dedicated volunteers, local food leaders, employers, community partners, local universities, and the Department of Corrections , the Federal Bureau of Prison, to bring long-term improvements to the lives of inmates 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 classes for inmates:

Oregon Food Bank’s Seed to Supper Class

This is a basic 6 week vegetable gardening class developed by the Oregon Food Bank and Oregon State University

Oregon State University Extension Service’s Sustainable Gardening Class

This is a 11 week freshman level college course.  After passing the class the student receives a Certificate of Home Horticulture from OSU Extension Service.

Lettuce Grow’s Greenhouse Management Class

This is a class developed with materiel from Chemeketa Community College  on greenhouse management, and design which give students an overview of greenhouses their uses and functionality. Growing food and flowers in greenhouse is a rapidly expending segment of the horticulture industry as the climate become more unstable.

Lettuce Grow’s New Culinary Arts Class

Developed with input from a number of local restaurants,   this class provide inmates with a skills that will provide them with a skill set which will help them find employment in  the culinary field.   

We provide the following services for inmates:

  • • 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

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 1236 inmates have graduated from our Sustainable Gardening  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 70% and in Oregon about 30%, the Lettuce Grow student’s rate is 4%.

In 2019 Lettuce Grow worked with prison gardens to produce more than 228,029  pounds of food for prison kitchens, a benefit to taxpayers and the health of inmates. An additional 10,201 pounds went to local food banks across the state of Oregon.

Since 2010:

  • 1,236 Adults in custody have completed the Sustainable Gardening class and receive a Certificate of  Home Horticulture through OSU Extension Service.
  •  169 Adults in Custody have completed the Greenhouse Management class.
  •  460 Adults in custody  have completed the Seeds to Supper class.


Locations we serve:

Adult Facilities

  • Columbia River Correctional–Portland
  • Coffee Creek Correctional –Wilsonville
  • Oregon State Correctional –Salem
  • Santiam, Correctional –Salem
  • Powder River Correctional – Baker City
  • Snake River Correctional – Ontario
  • Deer Ridge Correctional- Madras
  • Two Rivers Correctional- Umatilla
  • Eastern Oregon State Correctional – Pendleton
  • Warner Creek Correctional – Lakeview
  • Mill Creek Correctional – Salem
  • South Fork Forest Camp – Tillamook
  • Federal Correctional Facility – Sheridan

Youth Facilities

  • Maclaren Youth Facility- Woodburn
  • Yamhill County Youth Services


Voices from Inside

Artwork and letters from our students

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