By Bryan Schissler, Criminal Justice,  980-2679 firstname.lastname@example.org
There are plenty of farmers’ markets where you can buy the freshest of nature’s bounty, but one is very special because of the benefits it gives its farmers.
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The Larimer County Community Corrections Farmers’ Market is run by clients in the men’s and women’s intensive residential drug and alcohol treatment program. They grow, harvest and take donations for their garden-fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruit at their stand. The donations are then given to local charities.
The market is open from 8 a.m. to noon every Friday starting August 23, 2019 at Bath Garden Center and Nursery, located at Prospect and Timberline Road in Fort Collins.
Bath Garden and Nursery, and the Loveland Garden Club are a few of the local organizations who have generously donated resources to the program through the years. This year Bath donated fruit trees for the new fruit orchard being added to the garden.
The Loveland Garden Club also donated $580 to support the market in 2018 and in 2019. “This is a great partnership for our agency,” said Dana Hersch, Larimer County Community Corrections Assistant Director.
The market last year raised just under $1,000 through donations from people shopping at the market. Community Corrections will donate the funds to Serve 6.8, a local non-profit which connects resources to people in need of care during a crisis.
The clients who work in the farmers’ market are involved in a 21- to 90-day drug and alcohol treatment program designed to confront the addictions and behaviors that led to their involvement in the criminal justice system. They say it’s one of the best forms of therapy enhancing their recovery.
The program serves as an avenue for clients to learn the value of giving back to the community while they rebuild their lives. Clients have also learned valuable skills that have led to jobs at landscaping companies, and gardening stores after they are released from the program.
“The real reward is to see folks like you benefit from this program,” said Larimer County Commissioner Steve Johnson.
Since the project started in 2008, it has grown in size from a single plot to several beds which produce a variety of produce. Clients in the program designed, built and maintain the garden with gardening tools and equipment being donated by Bath Garden Center and Nursery in Fort Collins and other organizations.
The farmers’ market takes checks and cash for donations, but not credit cards.