By Matt Dolkas,
Content Marketing Manager

When we protected 6,857-acre Cloverdale Coastal Ranches in 1997, we took responsibility for the crippled barn at Root Down Farm. The barn was built in the 1870s and, over the years, had fallen into a state of disrepair.

We now lease a portion of this land to Dede Boies of Root Down Farm, a pasture-based livestock operation that humanely raises pigs, chicken, turkeys and ducks. Farmers like Dede need barns to maintain a thriving business. That’s why last year we invested in the restoration of farm’s barn.

Over the July 4th weekend last year, we brought the community together to raise the new barn…literally with our own hands. For the new barn’s one year anniversary, we checked in with Dede to see how she’s settling into the new space.

Here’s what she had to say:

How has having this space changed your life and business?

DB: So, I coach basketball at the [local] high school. And we do not have a great record because we’re a pretty small school. But two years ago we got new team uniforms, and warmups, and new shoes. [The students’] pride and how they felt about themselves when they arrived at the game just improved so much more.

That’s kind of what this feels like, there’s this new thing that is supporting this farm so much more that it brings everything up to another level. It’s a little hard to explain, but it just feels like everything’s in a better place.

(Click and scroll through the pictures below)

“This isn’t my barn, this is everybody’s.”

 

After the barn was built, how was it moving in and getting settled in this new space?

DB: Moving in was hard to do because it was such a new beautiful space, and moving in all of this dirty farm stuff just took a while. I was like, I don’t want to taint this beautiful building with all our dirty stuff.

So it’s been– I mean what is it? It’s almost June so it’s been like seven months and it feels like it’s still unfolding.

What was the biggest surprise in the several months now that you’ve been in this space? Has anything surprised you about having it?

DB: It’s still sinking in that I get to use this space and that this is part of this farm. After three years having [the old barn] then having pretty much nothing while the barn was half built, now to this…it still feels surprising and I’m almost in awe every time I look at it.

I’m like, wow, this is here for this functioning farm.

How is the barn helping the farm function?

DB: Just having a dry space with light over the winter time was unbelievable. Another big surprise was the walk-in [freezer], that was huge. It’s huge to be able to [have a walk-in] because we have meat we need to freeze.

I was renting freezer space in Pescadero from other farmers before, which is great but a little inconvenient to have to run around and unload.

[Now] it’s just like streamline in terms of the production.

Does it feel like you have a lot of room to grow?

DB: For sure, and now it’s like the support and the foundation is there…literally. And it’s becoming a community space, too, where other people are wanting to use it. Looking for ways of being able to share feels huge. I want to be able to support the community…in a sense, this isn’t my barn, this is everybody’s.

How do you see things changing [in the future]? What do you look forward to in the next year of utilizing this space that you haven’t done yet?

DB: I would love to be able to figure out how to incorporate the space into events, from a more community-based side…to get more people utilizing this space. Also, I feel pretty excited about building some animal pens inside and being able to have more space if we need it, for sick or pregnant animals.

This was a wet winter – was kind of serendipitous that you have this space?

DB: Yeah. Over the last couple of winters, we were here with the old barn. There was less and less roofing on the roof and more roofing on the floor throughout each winter and after big storms.

There were definitely points of this past winter where I was wondering if the old barn was still here if it would still be up. I think [we] picked a really good year to rebuild it.

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About Post

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 75,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

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