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Gardening program giving local inmates a new perspective on life

Posted July 13

— A gardening program at the Columbia River Correctional Institution is offering prisoners nearing the end of their sentences a glimpse of life outside the prison walls.

The program, which is named "Lettuce Grow," is put together by the non-profit organization Growing Gardens, which helps people learn to grow their own organic food.

"It's a statement that you're worthwhile. That I care enough about you that I'm going to take the time to come in here so you can learn something," said Rima Green, Lettuce Grow's Program Director.

Charles Kreider, serving time for a drug conviction, said he was drawn to the program because of his daughter.

Just before his incarceration, he helped her plant a small container garden outside his apartment.

Kreider hopes what he has learned in the gardening program can bring him closer to his daughter once he's released.

"That's the main reason I wanted to do it. Because it's something that's positive that she can take with her and me too, and that we could do together and bond," said Kreider.

Inmates interested in the program are required to show good behavior for at least six months, and are required to take an indoor class before they can work in the garden.

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