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Seeds of Hope

Articles: Seeds of Hope

Flowers, fruits, and vegetables flourish in a large garden on the grounds of the Northwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility on Joint Base Lewis-McChord tended by inmates in the facility’s vocational horticulture program. Photo: U.S. Army, Sgt. Christopher M. Gaylord

Hidden away in an evergreen woodland, behind a maze of 12-foot-high security fences topped with razor wire, where few might expect to find any good, lies a garden chock-full of life and color.

The men who tend this garden—soldier prisoners under incarceration for violating military law—take deep pride in raising quality fruits and vegetables from its soil. They await the day when they’ll return to the world outside their enclosed perimeter, but until then, they find solace in their own personal 22- by 26-foot plots that produce corn, green beans, peas, hot peppers, cucumbers, squash, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, watermelon, strawberries, and more. Crops good enough for commercial produce stands.

“See?” one of them boasts striding toward his fellow inmates on a recent morning, holding high a plump Spanish onion he’s just pulled fr...

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