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Cleveland County field-to-fork program benefits inmates, community

An agricultural project is being planned near the Cleveland County Detention Center. [ALAN LEVINE/FLICKR]
An agricultural project is being planned near the Cleveland County Detention Center. [ALAN LEVINE/FLICKR]

An agricultural program adjacent to the Cleveland County Detention Center will bring an opportunity for fresh produce and benefits to people working through the judicial system, Cleveland County Sheriff Chris Amason announced recently.

“I made a commitment to start an agricultural program at the jail, and Bergen Enterprises offered to help in this endeavor,” Amason said. “Their generous offer of expertise and materials will help bring this important project to life.”

Bergen Enterprises maintains a gardener on staff who oversees the garden program at Loveworks Leadership. She will expand her role from part-time to a full-time position providing hands-on guidance for the detention center’s agricultural program.

"We are proud of the county's courageous step to provide the land and join us in the belief that people can be empowered," said Susan Bergen, of Bergen Enterprises.

Materials will be provided by Eco Wood Solutions in the form of wood chips. Prairie Dirt Solutions will provide top soil. The sustainable missions of the Bergen companies are well suited to come alongside this project, a news release stated.

“For those who want a new lease on life, evidence-based programs like our proposed agricultural program give them a boost toward rehabilitation while having the added benefit of reducing taxpayer cost and improving the jail’s food supply,” Amason said. “It’s truly a win-win situation.”

Gardening can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and mood disturbance, as well as provide vocational skills, improve self-esteem, health, a sense of community and cognitive function, according to the news release.

“We’re still hammering out the details and talking to our partners within the judicial system, but we know the interest and the benefits for the public and participants are there,” Amason said. “While our proposed program is highly innovative, there are a handful of similar programs at jails across the nation, including one in Oklahoma. We’re looking at what those programs have accomplished, but we’re designing ours to fit the needs of Cleveland County while leveraging local resources.”

For those interested in learning more about the program or partnering in this effort, email Joy Hampton, public information officer for the Cleveland County sheriff’s office, at For inquiries at Bergen Enterprises, contact Christie Cochell at