30,000 Pounds of Produce – Food Bank Garden at Frontenac Institution – Tour Stop #2


Inmates at Frontenac Institution have been gardening for a number of years. After the Collins Bay prison farm was closed in 2010, the inmates received a half acre of land for gardening use. From the beginning, produce was often donated to the Partners in Mission Food Bank and over time this led to a formalized partnership.

The Innovation

This is an excellent example of a win-win partnership leading to a fruitful social innovation. The arrangement allows the Food Bank to supplement their offerings with fresh fruits and vegetables, which are often more difficult to source than non-perishable items. The garden also provides inmates with volunteer opportunities that help to develop key life skills and provide a way to give back to the community. The result of this partnership was 30,000 pounds of fresh produce donated to the Food Bank last year – and as much as 60,000 pounds in previous years.

The Future

When we think of innovation we tend to think of the newest advancement in technology and certainly this is an example. I believe though that innovation should be thought of more broadly to include any new and creative approach, method, or tool. The Food Bank garden is a perfect example of how working together to re-purpose existing community resources can help us address different needs in the community. A program like this that helps both inmates and food bank clients at the same time has great potential to be replicated in other communities.

The Tour

If you know of a fresh or innovative approach being taken by a community group, organization or business, I want to hear about it. Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram by following @MayorPaterson and the hashtag #MITour.