NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Davidson County jail is expanding its horticulture program thanks to a big donation.
The sheriff's office wants the program to be about teaching inmates life lessons and skills they can use once they've been released. They also hope to change public perception of what's happening behind the jail's walls.
"It's not just bad smells and bars, we also have flowers and plants," said Jason Weber, the Horticulture Program Councilor for the Davidson County Sheriff's Office.
The jail is rooted with programs aimed at helping inmates grow, like teaching these skills in horticulture.
"They will come out. They will help plant, cultivate, harvest the food and then they will get a certificate with UT Exchange," said Weber.
The food gets donated to Second Harvest Food Bank, in a time when food is really needed in the community. Last year, 5,000 pounds of produce from the jail's gardens were donated to the food bank.
But with the help of a new greenhouse, donated by Middle Tennessee Ford, more food will be going to help Second Harvest in the future.
"The greenhouse is really going to help us start early," said Paul Mulloy, Director of Programs for the Davidson County Sheriff's Office. He said they'll be able to grow all year long now.
Weber calls the donation a godsend. For him, it's a symbol of opportunities and shows the community that an inmate coming into the jail can blossom into a better version of themselves.
“I hope it changes the total view of what law enforcement is about. It’s not about sending people to jail," said Weber.
For a look at all the programs offered to inmates housed by Davidson County, click here.