Inmates at the Bossier Sheriff's Office Corrections Facilities have started harvesting peas at the "Pea Farm."

That's 22 acres of land near the Bossier Minimum Security Facility that's used to grow crops. Those crops, in turn, are used to feed the inmates at all three of the parish's corrections facilities. Minimum security inmates plant, care for, and pick the crops.

The Bossier Sheriff's Office says some veggies have already been harvested and the harvest will continue through the end of the month -- maybe into early August.

Thousands of pounds of vegetables have been grown by the inmates every year since 1995. They include peas, squash, tomatoes, peppers, okra, corn, and potatoes.

"The Pea Farm provides an opportunity for non-violent offenders to be productive and work in the field for the food that they and other inmates will eat," said Sheriff Julian Whittington. "It teaches some a trade, gives them a work ethic, and helps them take pride in what they do."

One obvious advantage of the Pea Farm is that it saves the Sheriff's Office a lot of money on food, but Sheriff Whittington says there's another, less-obvious, benefit.

"After a good day's work outside," he said, "they're ready to head back to the jail, settle down for the evening, and get rested for the next day."

Bossier Sheriff's Office photo of 2013 harvest