Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
Thanks to the partnership between the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks Sales Store and the Joint Regional Correctional Facility’s Vocational Agriculture Program, fresh produce is on sale at the USDB Sales Store every Wednesday and Thursday.
Potatoes, squash, zucchini, garlic and herbs are just some of the items shoppers can get for under $5, and all proceeds go back to the JRCF Vocational Agriculture Program, which began in 2016 with JRCF inmates taking part in the work detail of growing the fruits and vegetables.
“It doesn’t cost a lot to get seeds, (but growing produce) takes knowledge and time,” said John Wahlmeier, business manager for the JRCF Vocational Agriculture Program. “If (the inmates) can get the knowledge before they get out, then most of them are there and ready.”
The USDB Sales Store has been receiving produce since late summer of 2019.
During the COVID-19 pandemic while the sales store was closed, the produce was donated to the Leavenworth Mission Food Pantry, 1140 Spruce St., Leavenworth.
“We’re all about the vocational training programs, so we want to be able to make money for that program so that it benefits the inmates to become efficient at their vocational training that they’re doing,” said Sandra Settles, USDB Sales Store supervisor. “Also, I love that it’s organic produce that we’re able to provide to everyone.”
For more information about the agricultural program, visit https://www.ftleavenworthlamp.com/news/top-news-stories/2019/09/05/jrcf%e2%80%88vocational-program-producing-food/.
For updates on what produce is available each week, visit the USDB Sales Store Facebook page. As summer progresses, Wahlmeier said the program will bring in more produce including tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers as well as fresh honey and plants.
All produce not sold by Thursday afternoon is donated to the Leavenworth Mission Food Pantry.