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New barn for changing times at Fuller Farm

Barn construction.jpg
John Basile
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The post and beam barn being built at the Fuller Farm in Marstons Mills will serve a variety of functions for the Barnstable Land Trust.

The Barnstable Land Trust's Fuller Farm property on Route 149 in Marstons Mills is being updated to reflect changing times.

A barn went up on the site recently, built in just three days by post and beam experts Riehl Builders of Lancaster, Penn.

"The idea was to make it fit into the landscape and that's the reason for building it into the hillside," said Janet Milkman, the BLT's executive director, as construction proceeded at a hectic pace.

The barn will house a maintenance garage for the land trust's equipment as well as space for education and workshops.

The new barn is the result of donations from people who share the BLT's vision of preserving land in Barnstable and elsewhere.

"It comes from very generous people who believe in the mission of bringing this property back to agricultural use and making it again a part of the community as it was for 150 years," Milkman said of the more than $350,000 project of which the barn cost $120,000.

The Fuller Farm was a dairy farm for a hundred years, then a farm with a kitchen garden. The BLT has owned the site since 2012.

"When we had an opportunity to bring it back for conservation, the owner, Barbara Fuller, never wanted to see it developed so she was very happy to sell it to the land trust. She said to us, 'people don't know where their food comes from any more,' so we're trying to bring back her vision," Milkman said.

The Barnstable Land trust has a permaculture garden on the site and a partnership with an organization called Resilient Roots, which will conduct workshops and education programs at the farm.

The BLT also has a partnership with a goat company and has a pollinator field on the farm as well as a 10-acre hiking trail.

The barn will be a center for sharing information about all of those features. And, its construction is in keeping with the BLT's mission.

"We're trying to walk the talk," Milkman said. "We put in an alternative septic system which will remove almost all the nutrients coming from the one bathroom. That's important to protect the ponds down here. And we're also putting solar panels on the roof which will power not only this building but our office which is down the road on Route 6A."

"Our aim was to disrupt the site as little as possible. We had to remove some trees for the soar panels, but we will replant the site with native species to replace some of the invasive species that were here," Milkman said.

Once indoor work is complete, the new barn should be operational in mid-October.

John Basile is the local host of All Things Considered weekday afternoons and a reporter.