Produce Harvested In Programme At Westgate

March 5, 2023

Eight incarcerated men have been taking part in a sustainable farming programme, and they have now started to harvest produce which is being used in the kitchen, with the participants successfully growing a variety of items including broccoli, carrots, onions, and sweet potatoes in the garden at Westgate.

“This is a fantastic initiative and yet another example of some of the positive developments coming from our correctional institutions,” said Minister of National Security Michael Weeks.

A Government spokesperson said, “It follows the news that eight Westgate Correctional Facility inmates are thriving in a voluntary programme to certify them in sustainable farming.

“It is being taught by Mr Christopher Faria, the founder and managing director of the AgraLiving Institute. During the weekly course, which began last October, the all-male group learned how to use sustainable farming methods to grow various food crops, including grains.

Westgate inmate Jahmico Trott, instructor Chris Faria, Westgate inmate Detre Ford and Westgate inmate Jacquii DeSilva-Pearman

Westgate Garden Bermuda March 5 2023 (1)

“The classes are taught mainly using hands-on learning methods and focus on growing healthy soil, the preparation of a garden, transplanting and sowing seeds, watering and gardening maintenance and composting and garden planning.

“Graduates of this curriculum will be able to use these skills to grow their food, find job opportunities in a growing field or start their own business growing and selling market vegetables.

“During this winter season, the students chose to grow oats, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, kale, onions, beets and sweet potatoes in their large garden situated in the central courtyard of the Westgate Correctional facility.

“They have begun to harvest a few bags of produce each week which is being used in the kitchen.

Westgate Garden Bermuda March 5 2023 (2)

“As the garden and the students’ skills continue to grow, more produce from the garden will be used to offset costs and significantly increase the nutrition of the food being offered.

“”The project will supplement the produce output from The Farm Facility, which maintains the Department’s most extensive gardens.

“Retired Officer Andre Outebridge has continued to instruct inmates and oversee the gardens at The Farm Facility since he retired from the Department. Officer Winston Weekes has been assisting him. The Farm Facility distributes its harvest among the three correctional facilities within the Department of Corrections.

Westgate Garden Bermuda March 5 2023 (3)

“When there is excess produce that may spoil before the Department can utilise it, those items are shared with care facilities around the island. The successful programme will soon be expanded to the Co-Ed Facility in St George’s.

Minister Weeks added: “There is a body of evidence out there that suggests gardening skills can bring tremendous personal benefits to inmates. I applaud any initiative that attempts to interlink sustainable living and the natural world, which we sometimes forget about, with people undergoing life-changing transformations.

“I salute the participants of this curriculum for taking on a challenge to improve themselves and Christopher Faria for his leadership and inclusive approach to the community.”

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Category: All, Environment, News

Comments (4)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    Very positive and a great example of what can be achieved by all the participants. With all the spare Government owned arable land available, some should be leased at a peppercorn rent to certified ex inmates to encourage them to become a productive part of the community. Otherwise what they have worked for will be taken away from them.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “With all the spare Government owned arable land available, some should be leased at a peppercorn rent …”

      What are you saying? Government of the people for the people? That is an American concept.

      In Bermuda it is more like Government needs the money, Government for the money!

  2. Trudi Pugh says:

    Well done all!!

  3. My husband’s job had us living in Bermuda from 2010 to 2015.
    While there I volunteered in a gardening program working with inmates.
    I loved working with them and they were awesome to work with.
    I’m so happy that a gardening program is available for them.
    Before going to Bermuda for 9 years I volunteered in a gardening program at the local county jail.
    The inmates were so proud of their accomplishments.
    We sold the produce to the public and all proceeds were given to non-profit organizations in the county where the jail was located.