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Chicks will be added to farm

ROME TOWNSHIP — Four years ago, Lawrence County adult probation community service coordinator Dennis Gibson started a farm in Rome Township as a community service opportunity for adult probation and Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Gibson said saving food costs was one of the main objectives of starting the farm.

“Both judges (Bowling and Cooper) are trying to cut food costs at the jail,” he said. “It’s been a success. We’ve saved a lot of money for the county.”

In its first year, community service workers saved approximately $75,000 in food costs and Gibson said approximately $50,000-$80,000 is saved each year.

The farm grows mostly vegetables and provides eggs through chickens, which were at Cooke’s Farm Center Thursday until they’re ready to be delivered to the farm’s chicken coop at six to eight weeks.

“Community service workers are the ones who clean out the coops, plant and take care of the farm. We provide food for the jail and other non-profit organizations who are in need and contact adult probation to get food,” Gibson said.

“We’ve given food to churches, Back Pack Buddies, the Chesapeake Community Center and other food pantries.”

Gibson said that since implementing the farm as part of community service, those who have to go through the experience end up taking a lot out of it.

“Ninety-nine percent of the people on probation have never had a tool in their hand,” he said. “Most don’t like it at first, but by the end of it, they like it and enjoy it. I’ve talked to some who have actually gotten home and planted gardens.”