Governor says garden isn’t a reason to keep Ogdensburg prison open

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 5:40 PM EST
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NEW YORK, New York (WWNY) - A garden isn’t the reason to keep a half-empty prison open, but Governor Kathy Hochul says she’s willing to learn more about keeping food from an Ogdensburg garden going to local food pantries.

At a news conference Monday, 7 News was able to ask Governor Hochul about how closing the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility will stop a gardening program which feeds local pantries 40,000 pounds of fresh produce each year.

It’s run by an employee. Inmates harvest the crops. State Senator Patty Ritchie asked the governor to reverse the prison closure and expand the gardening program.

Here’s what the governor had to say: “The situation you’re talking about is something I am willing to look at, how we can continue growing those crops and getting that food into food banks, but that should not be a reason to keep a facility open.”

Hochul said maybe the gardening program could be a way to repurpose the Ogdensburg prison so that local food pantries are not left high and dry by the state’s decision to close it.

The prison closes at the end of March. All employees will be offered jobs elsewhere.

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