Visitors to the North County Detention Facility are surprised to see rows of carefully potted trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs, vines, and food crops growing in the fields next to the facility. The plants are part of the rehabilitation component of the Jail's vocational program that allows inmate volunteers to help propagate and preserve the environment while they are paying off their debt to society.
The result of the unique partnership between the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department and the Sonoma County Office of Education is to train inmates to grow and nurture over 200 varieties of plants from seedlings to large 24" box trees. In the process the inmates gain self-esteem and employable skills.
Three acres are planted with vegetables which are served at the facility, with the extra produce contributed to local food banks.
Two acres of ornamental plants are grown for three programs:
- Low cost plant for cities, counties, schools and public agencies.
- Low-cost fundraising for schools.
- Plants for sale to the general public.