The Children’s Home in Winston-Salem selling food it grows to sustain farm

Becky Edwards (left), a volunteer with the Children's Home grown produce stand, and Tom Priest (right), a farm hand with the Children's Home, stand with the Children's Home Grown Produce Stand on Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Winston-Salem, N.C. The cart sells fresh, pesticide-free produce grown at the Children's Home, Thursday through Saturday. (Andrew Dye/Journal)

Becky Edwards (left), a volunteer with the Children's Home grown produce stand, and Tom Priest (right), a farm hand with the Children's Home, stand with the Children's Home Grown Produce Stand on Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Winston-Salem, N.C. The cart sells fresh, pesticide-free produce grown at the Children's Home, Thursday through Saturday. (Andrew Dye/Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The purchase of fresh vegetables can help keep the legacy of The Children’s Home going, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

A farm cart stocked with produce grown at The Children’s Home will be open today and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Krankies Airstream Coffee Park, 1208 Reynolda Road.

The cart will be parked Monday and Tuesday at the White Family YMCA near Hanes Park. The cart is part of a plan that opens the agency’s farm to the public and promotes The Children’s Home amid recent reports of financial hardship.

The agency will decide additional days and times to make sell produce to the public.

Amy Garland, a spokesman for the agency, said the farm cart will include tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, squash, cucumbers, eggplant and peppers. Volunteers initially sold the produce last Thursday at Krankies.

“The volunteers hope that people stopping by to buy coffee also will buy the produce,” Garland said. “We have so much we need to sell.”

Denise Livengood of Winston-Salem and her daughter, Carla, bought squash and tomatoes from the cart Thursday afternoon.

“I’m down here to support The Children’s Home,” said Livengood, who said she lived at the home from 1969 to 1974. “I hope people compensate them well.”

The board of trustees of The Children’s Home approved the plan as part of its strategy to sustain its farm and the almost 50 animals that have been part of a therapy program for the children. The program costs about $250,000 a year.

Last week, many customers made donations to the agency for a small amount of the produce, Garland said. Others volunteered to work at the farm cart selling the items.

Farm volunteers at The Children’s Home replenish the cart with produce and eggs as needed, Garland said.

“There is so much produce up there,” Garland said. “This is an initiative to get people to know that the farm is a tremendous resource.”

The three-year business plan also calls for the farm to offer products and services, including the continuation of its strawberry sales and the sale of grass-fed beef, vegetables, free-range eggs, pumpkins and Christmas trees. Also, a corn maze should be up and running by October.

The plan projects a positive cash flow by the end of the second full year of operations, although the agency expects a cash surplus at the end of 2014.

Kim MacPherson, the agency’s manager of volunteers and alumni relations, said that the farm cart is just one of the measures that The Children’s Home will use as part of its plan.

“We don’t have a set goal because we are doing all kinds of things to raise money,” MacPherson said.

The Children’s Home decided in late January to give away its farm animals. The move came a month after the agency ended three residential programs and laid off 79 employees.

The agency stopped adopting out its animals in March, giving its farm volunteers time to create the plan to sustain the farm and the remaining animals on it.

In October, the agency announced that it planned to cut services and lay off some of its employees. The agency had a $1.75 million deficit during fiscal year 2011-12. After the layoffs, the agency has 73 employees and serves more than 230 children.

The Children’s Home, founded by the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church, opened in 1909 and sits on 212 acres off Reynolda Road.

Brian Long, the spokesman for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said that The Children’s Home’s farm cart could generate steady revenue.

“It enables the farm to make a pretty good connection with people who care about where their food comes from,” Long said.

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