More than $1M sought to rebuild barn at Natick Community Organic Farm – MetroWest Daily News

NATICK — Early on the morning of March 17, 2021, a 200-year-old barn described as the “heart and soul” of the Natick Community Organic Farm was destroyed in a fire. 
There was no loss of human life, but three sows and 14 piglets died in the blaze, which authorities suspect might have been caused by lamps being used to keep the animals warm.
The loss of the barn hit many people hard.
Rachel Adjemian Tetrault, who is leading a fundraising campaign to rebuild the barn, said one person told her the barn was like a childhood home to him.
“He said that it was a place where he took his first job. It was a schoolhouse, a playground and a place where he spent most of his years growing up,” she said.
Since the fire, the farm has raised $676,000 through a crowdfunding campaign and offline donations. 
About $1.1 million is needed to rebuild the two-story barn and a greenhouse that was heavily damaged.
An anonymous donor has placed a challenge grant. If the farm can collect an additional $200,000 by Oct. 31, the donor will match that amount.
“We are on the verge of unlocking the grant,” said Tetrault. “Everybody has been incredibly generous. We hope to have some exciting updates for the community very soon.”
Tetrault spoke of the barn’s significance
“The barn — a beautiful timber framed space was referred to as the heart and soul of the farm,” she said. “The building is so essential because it is full of memories.” 
Tetrault said plans call for a new barn that captures the beauty of the old building but with modern features. 
“The historical feel of the barn will be intact. However, there will be upgrades for the 21st century in terms of functionality and safety,” she said.
Staircases will replace ladders and the electrical system will be updated. The way the greenhouse will be laid out, in terms of heating and irrigation, will be state-of-the-art, she said.
The farm has completed the initial work of cleaning and preparing the site.
“The farm was closed for a short amount of time to get the dangerous burned substances out,” said Tetrault. 
The 27-acre farm is a nonprofit entity. The land has been a farm, in one form or another, dating back to the 1700s. The town owns the land and leases to the farm under a multi-decade long-term lease.
The new barn is being discussed in detail by a brainstorming group, Barn Reconstruction Advisory Committee (BRAC), that includes the farm’s executive director, Casey Townsend, former Director Lynda Simkins, the farm board members, a builder and an architect, and town officials.
The group hopes to secure a building permit and get started in building once the farm’s summer programs which serve 700 children, ends. 
For more information on how to donate, visit this site.