Local prisoners are helping to meet record demand for food at Christchurch City Mission.
In the lead up to Christmas, inmates at Rolleston Prison have been hard at work harvesting fruit and veggies from their 2-hectare garden.
The prisoners work five days a week, eight hours a day in the Rolleston Prison veggie patch.
The physical labour of harvesting leeks, spring onions, beetroot and lettuce, is part of their treatment and rehabilitation behind the wire.
An inmate called John* says it's been enormously beneficial.
"Just to relax really, to unwind what we've gone through in the day with our programmes, it means a lot," John says.
"If we had nowhere to vent we'd never be able to unwind, and we're no good to ourselves."
Twenty men tend the gardens each day with custodial supervision.
"Mental health improves when people are outdoors, they're actually tilling the land so to speak and doing some good," Rolleston residential manager Sandra Poff says.
The prison's 25-year-old gardens and orchard provide premium produce to the Christchurch City Mission and food banks.
"They're actually learning life skills, so on any release they'll be able to put those skills into use and be able to provide produce for their families and themselves," Poff says.
On average, 18 bins go to the City Mission each week - demand usually increases over Christmas but 2020 has seen a prolonged spike.
Christchurch City Missioner Matthew Mark says demand for not just the food bank, but all services has seen an incredible increase in the past year.
"Vegetables and produce that comes back to us is just invaluable," Mark says.
The vegetables also feed men in emergency housing who are often fresh out of prison, themselves.
"Sitting down at our kitchen table in our men's emergency accommodation and they say 'I might've helped grow this'," Mark says.
The garden is aiding personal growth while giving purpose to the long days spent incarcerated.
"It warms my heart to know that I'm giving something back," John says.