- Food production
HMP Hollesley is a low security or “Open Prison”, where offenders go before their final release into the community. It has “Open Conditions” without security perimeter fencing and some inmates are cleared to deliver work in the community – to help re-integrate them back into a more normal routine & environment.
For this project, having established the key requirements of the management staff, two main areas of delivery were identified.
The first garden area was The Walled Garden next to the unit that housed an older cohort of inmates, who were of retirement age. Due to the classic staff shortages that came alongside the funding cuts during this period, many garden areas had become under-utilised & somewhat over-grown. We put together a plan that would put food production & bio-diversity enhancement “centre stage” of the delivery, using the wonderful micro-climates that are created within the walled garden environment. We were also determined to put heritage fruit trees back into the old orchard area, where only a few of the original trees had survived. The prison already had plans to introduce chickens into the walled garden area so the whole plan integrated really well.
For the second part of the delivery we were to work with a younger cohort, who were working in grounds that included two large commercial greenhouses and other out-buildings. We put together a large pumpkin patch in an un-used area and grew over 150 pumpkins for a charity event for the Hospice in Bury St Edmunds.
There were no funds for the project so we worked hard to generate grant funds and whole project was delivered over a period of 9 months, paid for by the Paris-based charity The Humane Earth Foundation.
It was an extremely rewarding project to deliver, with positive engagement & very clear literal & metaphorical changes. By the end of our delivery the walled gardens were transformed, with an established heritage orchard and food growing in borders previously unused. The seeds we provided created a greater range of food growing crops in the raised beds and the relationship between gardens & the kitchens was re-established – so more fresh produce was being used for the benefit of the inmates themselves.
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