If you’re locked up, chances are that you are eating better than the general public. In Denver jail’s Palmer Building, a space that was one a dormitory is now home to a $4,000 aquaponics system. Aquaponics systems are used to make organic, pesticide-free vegetables that are produced in a sustainable fashion. These systems combine fish with plant cultivation. The fish that are put into this system are raised on site and are nutrient rich. The waste from the fish is then pumped into a water housing unit which contains plant roots. The plant roots take in the nutrients from the waste and then return the clean water back into the fish tank. The entire system is meant to replicate a natural and balanced ecosystem and environment.
At first, officers were in charge of maintaining this system. However, over time, inmates at the Denver jail Palmer Building were also trained to take care of the system. This system allows inmates to learn responsibility and it helps them get prepared for re-entry back into society. Considering there are new “green” jobs on the market, this particular program helps inmates learn the necessary skills they may need to land one of those jobs once they have been released from jail.
Not only does this system help inmates learn necessary skills, but it also supplies them with nutritious and healthy food. Aquaponics systems grow 100% chemical free, all natural produce that are free of pesticides, chemicals, colorings, herbicides, and fertilizers. These clever systems also reduce the costs of energy and are void of soil, weeds, soil pests or pathogens. The food grown in an aquaponics system actually tastes better than any food that is grown conventionally or hydroponically. In fact, inmates cannot seem to get enough of their vibrant, green veggies that they are working so hard to produce.