Members of the Laurens County Master Gardener Association spent an enjoyable time at the Thornwell Lush Acre Farm in Clinton on September 27, 2014 learning about their Poultry Project. They were met by Dr. Robert Gallagher, Manager of the farm, along with two students who routinely help him at the farm. The poultry project at the Lush Acre Farm was started by a $75,000 grant from the SC NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant Program (FY2013) and has both free-range laying hens and pasture-raised Broiler chickens. This project teaches the students about agriculture, healthy eating, and community responsibility. A group of students feed and water the poultry daily. LCMGA members were informed that the 10 laying chicken breeds at the farm are all Heritage breeds. There are also free range turkeys. LCMGA members learned that all of the feed for the chickens and supplemental feed for the turkeys is antibiotic-free. The turkeys will be available for sale for Thanksgiving (contact LushAcres@thornwell.org). The other part of the poultry project is the pasture-raised Broiler chickens. These chickens are standard commercial breeds such as the Cornish Cross and Red Ranger type.
The production from the farm is utilized not only at the Thornwell cottages but also sold at various farmers markets in the area. The students who are lucky enough to go with Dr. Gallagher to the Farmers Markets learn about customer service along with handling the financial transactions of a sale, i.e., how to make correct change.
An interesting coincidence is that the American Poultry Association began defining breeds in 1873 and publishing the definitions in the Standard of Perfection. The Thornwell Home for Children began in 1875.