The Larimer County Community Corrections Farmers’ Market starts August 10 and is open every Monday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 2255 Midpoint Drive, just south of Prospect past Timberline Rd. in Fort Collins.
The program is carried out by clients in the intensive residential drug and alcohol treatment program. Community Corrections clients grow, harvest, and sell garden-fresh vegetables, herbs and melons at their stand. The farmer’s market program will run until the produce runs out.
Community Corrections Director Tim Hand says that last year during the first three weeks of the market raised nearly $800. The produce is sold on a donation basis, and market participants have chosen to donate the majority of the proceeds to United Way at the end of the market season.
In addition, a portion of the revenues will be used to appreciate all the hard work the clients have accomplished growing and harvesting the produce.
“We plan to use the ‘appreciation revenue’ one afternoon for a barbecue where our staff will cook hamburgers and hot dogs for the clients. I believe they deserve some return on their sweat equity investment,” said Hand.
Hand also said the garden initiative is a “pay it forward” program yielding positive results from the Community Corrections clientele.
Started in 2008, the program has expanded from a single plot to several beds and varieties of produce. Currently the Community Corrections Farmers’ Market offers corn, green peppers, Jalapeno peppers, hot peppers, dill, pumpkin, basil, chives, cucumbers tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, cilantro, onion and garlic. The market takes cash and checks, but not credit cards.
Community Corrections clients not only worked the produce stand, but designed, built, and planted the garden to grow the produce. Donations for construction came from community businesses as well as County surplus and recycled County building materials. Local nurseries and landscape companies donated plants and supplies.
Clients who work the garden are also involved in a 90-day drug and alcohol treatment program designed to confront the addictions and behaviors that led to their involvement in the criminal justice system. The Farmers’ Market is a therapeutic outlet and opportunity to learn the value of giving back to the community.