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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Prison produce benefits local residents

  • To some, a prison may seem like an odd place to turn to when it comes to feeding those in need. But for several years now, the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth has provided fruits and vegetables that were distributed through various agencies in the county.
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    • Where to find the produce
      Produce grown at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth will be delivered to various locations in the county for free distribution. The deliveries will be made after 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday throu...
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      Where to find the produce
      Produce grown at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth will be delivered to various locations in the county for free distribution. The deliveries will be made after 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer and into the fall.

      Leavenworth locations:

      Leavenworth City Mission

      Hillcrest Manor

      Planters II

      Salvation Army store

      Catholic Charities

      Other Leavenworth County locations:

      Tonganoxie — United Methodist Church Good Sheppard Food Bank

      Basehor — BLAS United Methodist Church Food Bank

      Linwood — Linwood Lions City Park
  • To some, a prison may seem like an odd place to turn to when it comes to feeding those in need. But for several years now, the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth has provided fruits and vegetables that were distributed through various agencies in the county.
    And deliveries of produce are scheduled to start up again today as part of the of the annual program, according Brian Habjan, who serves as the community coordinator for what he calls the USP Leavenworth Prison Garden Project.
    He said the produce is grown by USP inmates. Volunteers from the community then deliver the produce to various locations in Leavenworth and elsewhere in the county.
    "It's all volunteer," he said of the program.
    He said produce will be delivered to the sites Tuesday and Thursday afternoons this summer and into the fall.
    The distribution sites in Leavenworth are Leavenworth City Mission, Hillcrest Manor, Planters II, Salvation Army store and Catholic Charities. There also are sites in Basehor, Toganoxie and Linwood.
    Habjan said the produce is given away for free. He asks that people take only what they can use.
    "We try to help those in need," he said.
    Organizers of the program ask people to provide a name, which Habjan said helps keep a head count of those who are being assisted.
    "We don't require them to write it down," he said.
    He said a variety of produce will be given away as part of the program.
    "We're growing about every vegetable that grows in the state of Kansas," he said.
    Because of a drought, last year's crop output was down considerably from the previous year. But the program still was responsible for the distribution of more than 47,000 pounds of food last year. Habjan estimated the supermarket value of this food to be close to $85,000.
    According to Habjan, the program is made possible through many private donations as well as assistance from the Lions Clubs of Leavenworth and Linwood.
    Habjan said one thing the program always is in need of is gardening equipment, such as tillers, shovels and rakes, to be used at the prison.
    For more information, Habjan can be reached at 758-2822.
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