Natick Community Organic Farm Fundraises Thousands After Barn Fire

NATICK, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Natick Community Organic Farm is picking up the pieces this week after it’s more 200-year-old barn burned to the ground last Wednesday.

Assistant Director of Operations Trish Umbrell grew up on the farm and said she remembers eating lunch in the barn's hay loft. 

"Barns are kind of like the churches of farms, they're really special," Umbrell said. "They're not just places where you keep stuff -- they have soul."

Umbrell said the farm's rescue dog Eddy woke up on-site caretakers at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday to alert them of the fire -- as the barn was completely destroyed in around 15 minutes.

"We had dances in there -- we've had weddings in there, I've attended so many animal births in there," Umbrell said.

She added that along with the damage to the building, the fire also killed more than a dozen animals -- including piglets, sows and gilts.

"There was just no way that anyone could save them," she said.

Around this time of year the farm would typically be hosting maple sugaring tours, where guides teach groups about the history and science of making maple syrup. After closing for several days, they plan to reopen educational programs on Monday.

"If farming teaches you anything in life it's that you take the hand you're dealt and you pivot," Umbrell said.

The farm's leaders are now looking ahead to replacing the barn, and as of Monday, a GoFundMe page for the effort has already raised over $236,000. Officials are aiming to raise at least $400,000.

"It won't be the same barn but it will be the barn for the future," Umbrell said. "[With] things in it that quite frankly the barn [built in 1815] didn’t have for meeting today's farming needs."

Umbrell said that there has been an outpouring of support from the community-- even from contractors offering their services for the rebuild.

WBZ NewsRadio's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzsausville) reports.

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Written by Rachel Armany

(Photo: WBZ NewsRadio/Suzanne Sausville)

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