Inmates harvest 35,000 pounds of produce grown on site

The Green Bay Correctional Institution's two-and-a-half acre farm provides produce for the prison's 1,000 inmates.

GREEN BAY, Wis. — As daily traffic along Webster Avenue zips by the Green Bay Correctional Institution, on the other side of the formidable walls and armed towers of the maximum-security prison in Allouez grows a garden.

A massive vegetable garden that helps to feed the 1,091 inmates housed there.

Last year, inmates harvested a whopping 35,083 pounds of produce from crops that sit on 2½ of the facility's 29-acre grounds. Nine thousand pounds of that tally were donated to Paul's Pantry, and all the rest was used on site by food service, which is in charge of preparing three meals daily.

The gardens aren't new to the facility's green space, but they have expanded considerably in recent years.

"The gardens have just grown enormously, not just here, but across the state,'' said GBCI Warden Brian Foster. "Some institutions have acres of gardens. It's been such a good addition to our food service. It's unbelievable, and then the ability to be able to give to the food pantries as well.''

Just as home gardeners have discovered, growing your own food keeps grocery costs down. When tomatoes and cucumbers are in peak picking season, GBCI can save $400 to $500 a week on its food bill, said Dave Brooks, food service manager for the past two years and 18 years with the institution. That's significant savings when you're trying to meet a goal of a $1.06-per-meal cost, Foster said.

"It's always good to save money with tight budgets,'' Foster said. "Our budgets have not increased for our food service a great deal to match the increase in food costs, so the gardens have become more and more important every year to try and balance that shortage.''

Brooks uses as much of the produce — tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, green beans, onions, beets, squash, radishes — as he can fresh in a menu that is dictated by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. That often means adding produce to soups and other dishes, but food service is allowed to make two changes weekly from the standard menu. That allows Brooks to do things like a vegetable dish with fresh zucchini.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The USDA has awarded the Indiana State Department of Health a 2018 grant to help support farm-to-school programs in the state, WBIW reports.

The department will receive $98,468 over two years to support the Indiana State Department of Agriculture's Indiana Grown program, which is responsible for promoting local ingredients in school meals and other farm-to-school events.

The grant money will go toward creating resources and a promotional campaign to help districts incorporate fresh ingredients in meals. It will also be used to support and grow the state’s 11 farm-to-school...

Industry News & Opinion

Dining services at Boston College will this fall introduce a new layer in its sustainability efforts: reusable takeout containers.

The containers will make their debut at the school’s Stuart Dining Hall, The Heights reports .

To combat theft of the to-go boxes, the school will use a token system by which students who pay $8 to join the Green 2 Go program will receive tokens that they can them redeem for containers. Once used, they will return a container to a particular register and receive another token. If a student loses a box or token, they can buy their way back into...

Menu Development
spicy bibimbop

Bowls continue to trend as meal carriers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Both operators and the guests they feed appreciate bowls for their convenience, customizability and creative combinations. Build-your-own stations are increasingly popular ways to offer bowls in college dining, corporate venues and school and hospital cafeterias. But building a satisfying bowl takes more planning than randomly tossing ingredients together in one vessel.

Playing with layering

“Texture is the secret ingredient for a successful bowl,” says Kevin Cecilio, senior director of culinary innovations...

Industry News & Opinion

Austin Independent School District in Texas is introducing new globally influenced menu items this school year, Spectrum News reports.

The offerings are meant to reflect the district’s diverse student body and will include yuca fries, Jamaican meat pies and plantains.

Read the full story via .

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code