Blacktown City Council
Sanjeev Kumar, a correctional officer and Horticulture Overseer at Sydney's Parklea Correctional Centre, is also the architect of many environmental initiatives across the prison. This includes the propagation of chemical free edible gardens, which provides fresh salad mix and other vegetables for donation to Charity Food Bank, thereby helping disadvantaged sections of our community especially during the pandemic. Approximately 2 tonnes of fresh green salad mix has been donated to Food Bank. Sanjeev has plans to grow organic green salads for regular supply to the prison kitchen thereby providing another healthy option for inmates. Sanjeev’s projects boast self-sufficiency and sustainability, like using hot houses/gardens made with 100% recycled material that would otherwise be sent to landfill.
Sanjeev's environmental philosophy extends throughout the whole prison and beyond. It is his mission to teach his skills to inmates and younger generations, as he says there is a profound importance of green spaces for health, wellbeing and sustainability. The skills that Sanjeev teaches the inmates also give them a better chance of gaining employment and reduce their risk of reoffending.
Beyond his job at the prison, Sanjeev has also engaged with the Blacktown City Council – and he has won the Blacktown City Garden Competition for the past 3 years. This much deserved award, and its initiative has touched other community groups including the Aboriginal organisation Muru Mittigar, which accepted native seedlings that were used to improve green cover over bare land.