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AntFarm moves forward


New facility added to help the nonprofit youth program's outdoor activities

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Alex Holdsworth begins the project of remodeling the new location for AntFarms outdoor programs, located at 38600 Proctor Blvd. The current location at 39140 Proctor Blvd. will continue to serve the nonprofit groups indoor programs, including the soon-to-open café.AntFarm is growing so much that it needs to expand its facilities in Sandy. With the addition of AmeriCorps volunteers and the soon-to-open AntFarm café, the nonprofit program needs some elbow room, said AntFarm Director Nunpa.

The next move for the program, serving youths in the area from Boring to Government Camp, is to remodel an old building at 38600 Proctor Blvd., just west of Scales Avenue. That remodeled building will be used as headquarters for all of AntFarm’s outdoor programs.

Program administration and indoor programs will stay at the headquarters facility, where the café is located, at 39140 Proctor Blvd.

“This will be our hub,” Nunpa said, “our indoor classroom space.”

But with the additional facility, as soon as the remodel is complete, AntFarm will park its vans there (they are now parked at Suburban Ford) and store all of its outdoor gear and tools there.

Several outdoor programs will begin each day at the new site instead of the overcrowded headquarters, just west of Meinig Avenue.

Among AntFarm’s outdoor programs are the community garden, Outdoor Adventure, YouthCore, CommunityConnect and a farmers’ market.

There’ll be no more “muddy boots” in the headquarters facility, Nunpa said.

“Once this café is open,” he said, “we want this to be a nice, clean, focused space for tutoring and other activities.”

The café is likely to be ready for its first open day around the first week of June, Nunpa said.

Outdoor programs

From its fertile land, loaned for AntFarm use by Suburban Auto Group, AntFarm employees and AmeriCorps personnel guide young people as they prepare the soil, plant vegetables, care for the crops, harvest the results of their work and deliver some of it to the Community Action Center.

After the AntFarm café is operating this summer, Nunpa said, some of the harvest will go to the café and some will be sold at a farmers' market.

The garden is used to teach the youths AntFarm serves about nutrition, organic gardening and soil conservation as well as food handling and preservation.

The CommunityConnect program, which assists elders and disabled residents, helps develop relationships among youths and the community’s senior and adult generation.

The YouthCore program assists young people with work opportunities in public and community projects such as conservation and trail building and maintenance.

The OutdoorAdventure program was the first of AntFarm’s programs and includes such activities as hiking, archery, camping, environmental studies, bird and plant identification, mountain biking and tracking.

The OutdoorAdventure program also has reached out to youths from other states and other countries.

In addition, work groups, such as the youths who work at Skibowl, will gather their tools and leave from this new location. AntFarm’s most successful fundraiser — collecting cans and bottles for deposit return — also will move to this location from its current spot at the corner of Proctor and Shelley Avenue.

The remodel

The old building to be remodeled, which is near the Big Apple market, needs a bit of work, and Nunpa said AntFarm would be working on it during the entire month of May. Besides what he called “cosmetic” upgrades, the building will get a new firewall as well as an ADA-approved bathroom.

“We see this (during May),” Nunpa said, “as a massive overhaul of painting and securing the building and remodeling so that we’re ready for the summer.”

Overall plans, therefore, have the café opening and AntFarm outdoor programs moving about the same time in early June.

For more information, call AntFarm at 503-622-3548.