PORTLAND – A gardening program for youth offenders opened up a new farmers market. Wednesday was the first day of operation, for the market inside the Donald E. Long Juvenile Justice Center.
The gardening program that supplies it is 3 years old, and vegetables are grown in a sunny plot on the property.
Juvenile offenders released on supervision must be accepted into the program that offers them a chance to learn new skills and do something positive.
Jamall Kingham is in his final days of the eight week program, and on Wednesday he was harvesting for market with friends he’s made in the garden.
“I’m not kicking it with people I used to kick it with and making bad decisions. I’m in here helping people bacause we can’t eat all this, so we’re gonna give it to some other people. We’re gonna give back to the community,” said Kingham who considers the gardening and now marketing his first job.
The “Hands of Wonder Stipend Garden”, including the new farmers market, is run by Sidney Morgan the Restorative Justice Coordinator.
“This is like 3 years plus dream come true--to have the kids be able to sell the produce that they worked so hard growing,” said Morgan.
Proceeds from the farmers market goes back to juvenile justice programs, and that means some goes back to the garden. That fact pleases participant Davontay Mosley
“It makes me feel good inside, helping other people. We’re growing straight organic food too.” said Mosley.
More than 130 juvenile offenders have successfully completed the gardening program.
The farmers market will be open again Thursday August 29th, from 3pm-6pm, at the Donald E. Long Juvenile Justice Center at 1401 NE 68th Avenue. It is open to the public.