The inmate garden at the Starke County Jail is thriving. Zucchini should be ready to pick by the end of the week, and cabbage and potatoes are also coming along well, according to Jail Warden Phil Cherry. He says it offers inmates an incentive to behave so they can come outside and work. Steven Pastorcik has been a part of the garden program since the first seeds went into the ground. He and his fellow inmates weed, plant and water the garden.
They also care for the chickens the county recently added as part of the farm operation. They’re still a little young to lay eggs. As soon as they start to produce the eggs will be used in the jail’s kitchen.
Pastorcik says the garden provides a nice change of pace.
“It’s good to get outside, plus it’s therapeutic out here, making something happen, making something grow, taking pride in it.”
Joseph Bihlmayer has been working in the garden for the past month or so.
“I pick the weeds and tend to the plants and make sure they’re all going, growing good and groom them a little bit, tie them up and care for ‘em.”
Bihlmayer also enjoys spending time outside and admits he’s looking forward to enjoying the fruits of his labor, especially the jalapenos and tomatoes.
Once the garden comes in, produce will be incorporated into the meals served to inmates.