Juvenile Detention Gardens
A collaborative effort between Maricopa County Cooperative Extension and the Maricopa County Durango Juvenile Detention Facility will teach youth to grow food and learn about soils, plants, and urban agriculture.
What began as a discussion with staff at the facility has turned into a plan to install eight raised garden beds for youth housed at the facility to care for as a way to get them involved in a positive activity that can benefit many.
“It’s better to educate than incarcerate,” said Durango Juvenile Detention Center Chief Eric Meaux. Meaux, along with chief of staff Teresa Tshupp, say the produce grown will be used in the detention center for healthy snacks and could also be donated to local food banks.
Although the project is just underway, there are great expectations of using the beds as a learning tool helping to teach responsibility and showing youth what is possible through hard work and caring for the plants grown.
Maricopa County Master Gardener volunteers were instrumental in getting the beds installed and worked alongside the youth as the sites were prepared, the raised beds were filled with soil, and the irrigation systems installed.
Thanks to Yvonne Cooper, Master Gardener senior program coordinator, and Master Gardener volunteers Tony Mariano, Frank Gillern, and Don Sutton. Also, thanks to Nic Haynes and the Juvenile Detention staff who worked right along with us. We can’t wait to see the garden in full production.