‘Farm to Corrections’ Program Builds Local Produce Market

California’s Harvest of the Month program aims to serve seasonal, locally grown produce to people who are incarcerated in the state, while opening new opportunities for California farmers. The program is a collaboration between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the Nutrition Policy Institute, the nonprofit Impact Justice, and ChangeLab Solutions and is funded by a specialty crop block grant and supported by state legislation that requires a percentage of state institutions’ food to be grown in California. Harvest of the Month involves rural food hubs in sourcing supplies of fresh produce from local family farms. The project launched in three facilities with watermelon in July, followed by pluots in August and pears in September. CDCR, the state’s largest purchaser of food, is planning to roll out Harvest of the Month to all 33 of its adult facilities within the next two years. The program not only offers stable new markets for farmers, but also improves residents’ health and contributes to making working conditions better for staff.
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