Bringing more farm-fresh food to Elkhart county with the help of inmates

ELKHART, Ind. -- Elkhart county inmates could soon be turning into makeshift chefs. A pilot program is in the works where locally-grown food will be taken to the jail's kitchen and processed by inmates. This is all in an effort to make farm-fresh food available year-round. 

Right now, fresh, local food is only available at farmer's markets or street stands during the summer. But farmers throughout the area combined with local churches and the Elkhart county jail have thought of way to change that.

They want to harvest from church community gardens and bring it to the jail's commercial-grade kitchen, where inmates will process it and freeze it. 

Elkhart County Commissioner, Mike Yoder, says there's no better way to build a sense of community. He says, if this is successful, they can start bringing farm-fresh food to local schools and hospitals. 

"It's important to source as much as you can from your own county, your own farmers," says Yoder. 

But why have inmates do all the work? Yoder says, "Even though we have about 6% or 7% unemployment, it’s really hard for us to find workers right now."

Yoder also believes inmates can learn valuable work skills they can take with them when they get out. 

All in all, we live in a day where consumers are starting to care where their food comes from. Yoder believes, this initiative will help keep his community informed. 

This idea is still in the beginning stages. The committee hopes to spend the winter planning and have this up and running by next year. 



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