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$270,000 to Support Community Garden at the Washington County Jail Secured by Senator Collins in Funding Bill

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that she secured a total of $270,000 for a partnership at the Washington County Jail in Machias in the Fiscal Year 2023 Agriculture appropriations bill.  


The omnibus funding package passed the Senate by a vote of 68-29.  It will now be passed by the House before heading to the President’s desk to be signed into law.


“This innovative project is a win-win for taxpayers as well as those who are currently incarcerated at the Washington County Jail,” said Senator Collins.  “By helping inmates cultivate new horticultural skills, Downeast Restorative Harvest will help reduce recidivism, provide nutritious meals inside the jail, and support local food pantries.  In addition, the garden will provide opportunities for local residents to volunteer and gain agricultural experience, which will help alleviate the high rates of food insecurity in Washington County.”


"Healthy Acadia is so appreciative of the strong support from Congress for Downeast Restorative Harvest. Congressional funding will support critical infrastructure to make the project a success, such as deer fencing, a storage shed, and a greenhouse," said Katie Freedman, Community Health & Food Programs Director at Healthy Acadia. "With this support, we will create a highly productive garden site that will produce nourishing food for the jail's kitchen and local food pantries, while providing educational and vocational opportunities for jail residents and community members to grow and thrive. We are deeply grateful for the advocacy of Senator Collins in support of this project."


The funding will support a partnership between Healthy Acadia and the Washington County Jail to launch Downeast Restorative Harvest, a corrections community garden program.  The garden–which will be located on a parcel of county-owned land in Machias–will engage jail residents, members of the recovery community, horticultural educators, and other community members in growing food for the jail’s kitchen as well as for donation to local hunger relief programs. The cultivation of vegetables, flowers, and fruit trees, combined with horticultural training led by University of Maine Cooperative Extension, will provide jail residents and other participants with valuable life and employment skills, as well as opportunities to support and improve their physical and mental health.