For most of Fort Collins, farmers market season started months ago, except for the MIRT Farmers Market that opened its tables for the first time Friday.
The market is made up of one stand with enough food to supply shoppers for three to four hours.
But what it lacks in size, the MIRT farmers market makes up for in purpose.
“It's nice to be able to turn the page and do some good,” said James Perryman on working at the market.
For the last twenty years, Perryman was a meth addict who used nearly every day.
“I put everything else behind my habit,” he said. “Nothing was sacred.”
Now he’s at this farmer’s market, which he and nearly 350 other men use as a way to kick their addictions.
“You know, if I'm feeling some feelings that I haven’t spoke of in group... the vegetables hear about it,” Perryman said.
The farmer’s market is run by the Larimer County Community Corrections, Colorado’s largest halfway house. More than eight years ago they began a community garden for its clients - who would tend to the plants as a form of therapy.
“It’s [about] the freedom to enjoy life again,” added Bill Snyder. “It's huge.”
Snyder joined LCCC in May to overcome his 15-year meth and heroin addiction. He says the garden has been an invaluable asset in healing both his body and soul.
“Now I'm comfortable with who I am. I'm comfortable being sober. I'm comfortable with the person I've become. You know, instead of each day going out and trying to feel normal I'm now able to do it.”
Clients plant more than 20 varieties of plants and vegetables in the garden, handpicking weeds, watering, and protecting the plants. They then sell the goods for donations given to local non-profits that help their cause.
“These [plants] right here are my pride and joy,” Perryman said.
The farmer's market happens every Friday from 8 to noon right next to the Larimer County Sheriff's Office in Fort Collins.
It's open until the season's harvest runs out, which typically takes around four to six weeks.
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