The MMGA’s Prison Horticulture Program provides an opportunity to dedicated Master Gardeners to make a difference in the lives of incarcerated individuals. We partner with the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC) in providing successful horticulture programs in four DOC prisons (Pondville, Northeastern Correctional Center (Concord), MCI Shirley and MCI Concord).
What we provide:
Learning by doing
Experimenting with garden and landscape design
Gardening to give back to the community
Training in essential plant science
Facilitating group collaboration
Understanding plant schedules, seed starting, cover crops, need for hardening off, harvesting and storage, and crop rotation, and much more
Photos of the NECC Gardens by MG Tony Bonnano
Here is a little bit about MMGA’s Prison Programs:
Master Gardeners participate in the Brave Unit at Concord MCI. This unit is dedicated to male inmates with children to teach successful parenting skills as well as improve their overall education through a variety of programs including our horticulture program.
This year we created a butterfly garden in the shape of a butterfly (designed and managed by Master Gardener and Prison Program Manager Barb McIntosh). The garden is jam-packed with butterfly-loving plants donated by Massachusetts Master Gardeners and annuals from the Northeastern Correctional Center. This garden has provided beauty and training to many inmates and continues to be a source of pride for all those who participated in its development.
The program at MCI Shirley serves approximately 10 men who plant and maintain vegetable and flower gardens of approximately 500 square feet. Each week during the growing season, learning experiences are created based on the tasks at hand. During the winter months, in-person classes are held weekly on a wide variety of topics including apical dominance and how it informs pinching and pruning, cover crops, succession sowing, calculating sowing windows from seed packets, and soil testing interpretation to name a few classes. The emphasis is on practical topics.
Northeastern Correctional Center