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PCSO garden project gives recovering addicts the opportunity to grow

(Scarlett Lisjak)
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:27 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Anyone with a green thumb knows that the garden teaches patience, care and watchfulness. The Pennington County Sheriff’s office is hoping to sow these valuable life lessons, by giving inmates the chance to grow alongside what they plant.

The Sheriffs office has community a garden in Box Elder where inmates from the County Jail grow vegetables. The Garden Supervisor for the Pennington County Jail, Bill Atyeo has been helping inmates learn their way around the garden for eight years. He says the food they produce goes back to the community, “the potatoes here, will all be dug and taken to the jail, and usually get about a ton off each whole strip of potatoes, and that will all go to the jail, some of it will go to the mission on 30 Main Street, and some to the women’s mission up on 5th street.”

As the garden expands, so does the need for help, and this is the first year clients from the Care Campus are lending a hand. An addiction counselor with the Campus Treatment Center, Brent Lambley says a lot of lessons are learned when your hands are in the soil.

”Pulling weeds is like getting rid of character defects, cause they’ll keep popping up, and you got to keep pulling the weeds, that’s what recovery is about. One of my mentors used to say you’ll either grow or you go, they either grow mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or they’ll return to what they use to be, and this is one thing that helps them grow,” Lambley said.

The garden starts in the spring and continues until it’s all harvested, usually about the beginning of October.

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