County farm set to growPublished 10:15am Tuesday, December 4, 2012
2nd year of project reaching out to larger demographic
HANGING ROCK — The Lawrence County Farm was created to allow those individuals in the county’s work-release program to work during the day and return to their homes at night, instead of serving their time in the county jail.
Now as the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization plans the second year for the farm on acreage on the banks of the Ohio River in Hanging Rock, its scope is expanding.
“We are working on several different initiatives, a more pre-employment-type program,” Ralph Kline of the CAO, said. “We are focusing on that as a pre-employment opportunity.”
The original goals of the farm were to reduce overcrowding at the jail and cut food costs at county facilities such as the jail, the juvenile center, STAR Community Justice Center and the county food banks.
During one month at the farm the total pounds of produce was 13,717 or a market value of $17,753.
But the farm was also set up to introduce and teach the workers a variety of life skills, including those needed to get and keep a job. Now that education will be offered to more than those in the work-release program.
“This is part of the whole redevelopment of one-stop service (at the CAO),” Kline said. “There are all kinds of population re-entry … homeless, addicted … people with long-term unemployment, where we work with those individuals at all times. We can generate food for different programs. … The whole concept of the Life Intervention and Diversion Program is to take those individuals and basically a comprehensive and coordinated case management.
“When you work with individuals, your ultimate goal is to get job stability. … When you have an employer with a job available and work with that individual, they are prepared and have basic skills, are drug free and have an appropriate work ethic to make a good employee, whether it comes from alternative sentencing or homeless people or under-employed.”