Just a few feet away from the Caldwell County Jail lies a small barn-like building. It's getting a lot of attention now because inside is the start of something new.
Inmates are taking a part in growing the food they eat. Caldwell County Sheriff Department Sgt. Anthony Hardee gave KVUE a tour Friday of what’s being called the Aquaponic Garden.
“We'll be able to supply our jail with enough lettuce and nutrients, romaine lettuce instead of the iceberg, to our inmates for six days a month,” Hardee said.
A tank inside the garden will hold 800 Tilapia fish to fertilize and grow different types of vegetables. The fish will be used in the jail as a meat source as they mature and are replenished by younger offspring in the system.
The solid waste from the Tilapia will go through a filtering process before it reaches the vegetables in plots.
“These plants right here, that's one week, two weeks, three weeks, and that's fruition at 4 weeks,” Hardee said.
Sheriff Daniel Law tells KVUE that he’s striving to make the Caldwell County Jail as self-sustaining as possible.
But the garden has another mission: Law enforcement said that it's building character for the inmates.
“But if we can also offset the cost some and the citizens get the reward, great that's what I'm looking for. The main thing is can I save somebody from coming back to jail,” Law said.
Sheriff Deputies says the entire system was purchased by commissary funds and built by inmates of the Caldwell County Jail.
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