It was “a little traveling music” for the members of the Rotary Club of Garrettsville-Hiram, as they took their May 15, 2017 meeting to the Hiram Farm. At the facility, they learned of the connections to the Couch Trust, which was the farmland basis of the operation, and of the continued association with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, which mandates the end uses of the land and its reversion to open space/ organic farmland, should the Farm ever close (The buildings are all removable). The group made the acquaintance of the companion/therapy animals—goat, sheep, pot-bellied pig—and several of the farmers. Most of the farmers are from nearby counties—Portage, Summit, Geauga, etc.—as are many of the groups ( schools, churches, service organizations, etc.) who step up to volunteer for projects at the Farm. Progressive Insurance has made significant contributions, financial and project-oriented; Hiram College has an excellent relationship in several areas. Medicaid is a basic source of support for the Farm population, especially as regards basic care and transportation. Since its founding, the Farm has expanded, space-wise as well as in available programs for those on the autism spectrum. The Farm produces vegetables (with the aid of the hoop house and green house and indoor plumbing), both summer and winter—via the hydroponic system, eggs, handicrafts of all sorts, including items from the wood shop. There are presently about 15 acres being used for all activities and about 15% of the income is derived from gifts and donations, which includes the Farm to Table Dinner which was such a success last year. They pay their taxes, they give the farmers a “paycheck” for work performed, the house at the north edge of the frontage is used for crafts/art and sales of flowers/plants, and offices.
The Farm is presently seeking DSP—direct service professionals—to participate in its programs and activities. The Farm is a blessing for the farmers and the wider community. Interested individuals should check them out to make their own contributions.
In other business, Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary is still seeking host families for an exchange student next year. At least two families are needed; it’s a great opportunity for families with children of any age to expand their horizons and have a great experience with someone from another culture. Contact any Rotarian.
AND…the semi-annual Garrettsville-Hiram roadside trash pick-up was a great success, once again.