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Dairy rebuild helps farm at the Children’s Home get ready for public sales

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A flurry of work is being done over the course of two days to get the farm at the Children's Home ready for the public Aug. 16.

Ardmore United Methodist, Habitat for Humanity and the Winston-Salem Homebuilders Association are teaming up to redo the roof on the old dairy building on the farm and get it ready for produce sales.

"This will kind of be the hub of everything that's going on at The Children's Home," said Leigh Summer, a board member with the group. "We see the farm as the front porch to The Children's Home."

Earlier this year, The Children's Home board members considered reducing the role of the farm at the 105-year-old facility of Reynolda Road near downtown Winston-Salem.

A group of volunteers hoping to preserve the farm as an animal therapy tool for kids came up with a plan to grow and sell fruits and vegetables to keep the facility in working order.

"Over the years since the late 1990s The Children's Home has been primarily a therapeutic treatment center and has been reliant on healthcare reimbursements," said Summer. "It's cyclical and things change and we get surprises when things aren't being paid for anymore."

The new funding stream has already begun with produce being sold from a cart in front of a coffee shop on Reynolda Road.

The effort has allowed activities at the farm to continue on a limited basis this summer.

"We've had quite a few children's activities in fact most of the produce that people are buying are picked by the children," said Dan Gentry, a volunteer with the farm. "We're also doing therapy programs again with some of the children on campus."

Volunteers said the reason they're repurposing the dairy building is to give The Children's Home a chance to continue its mission of helping kids and keep a Winston-Salem mainstay.

"The Children's Home has a long Methodist history and it needs to stay here so this will give them a chance to sell items for their farm store and help them be a little more self-sufficient," said John Corun.