Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Prisoners honoured for vegetables at Isle of Man show

Home Affairs Minister Adrian Earnshaw MHK (centre) with prison staff
Image caption The fresh produce won in many different categories

Inmates in the Isle of Man have won prizes for the vegetables they have been growing behind their prison walls.

Their 70 vegetable patches at Jurby Prison have produced courgettes, peas and onions worthy of recognition at Sulby Horticultural Show.

Home affairs minister Adrian Earnshaw MHK, was so impressed with the produce he visited the jail on Tuesday.

"I hope the vegetable garden and the level of interest in it continues to develop," he said.

Aided by prison officers, 12 prisoners have chosen to spend a minimum of five half day sessions working in the garden each week.

They were awarded first prize for peas in their pods and courgettes, with second places for onions and potatoes.

Additionally, they won first prize for pickled beetroot and beetroot and ginger chutney, both made in the cookery class.

'Quite staggering'

The prison was also awarded the Mrs T M Oliver Cup for gaining the most points in the vegetable classes.

Principal officer Mike Speers has overall responsibility for the vegetable garden. He said: "Its success has been due primarily to the initiative, determination and hard work of these officers as well as the prisoners involved.

"Their team work demonstrates just what is possible in terms of meaningful, productive activity for prisoners.

"It also demonstrates how projects can be set up with minimal resourcing. The amount of produce has been quite staggering considering the project was started fairly late in the year and that the ground was very stony and barren."

Set up costs, including purchase of seedlings for the vegetable garden, total under £3,000 to date and have been funded out of the prison's budget.

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