Maybury Farm History:
The Beginning of Maybury Farm with The Northville Community Foundation (NCF)
In January of 2003 the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asked the Northville Community Foundation (NCF) if the Foundation would consider taking over the operations of the Maybury Farm. The DNR had closed the farm in October of 2002. The DNR was divesting itself of all extracurricular activities including farms, lighthouses, ski slopes, etc. They were asking reputable nonprofits to consider taking these tasks over. Thus, this was the DNR's request to NCF to take over operations of Maybury Farm.
This request was taken to the Foundation's Board of Directors and passed unanimously. Negotiations began in January 2003. Two area attorneys donated their time to help negotiate the deal with Eric Colthurst and Troy Taylor. Both attorneys continue to assist the foundation.
THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENED - In mid-February of 2003 a fire of undetermined origin destroyed the barns, animals, and farm equipment - everything. Adding to this great loss, the state was self-insured - there were no insurance dollars to rebuild. The task of the Foundation was enormous.
Through the steadfast efforts of the Foundation's Board and the DNR, an agreement was reached and the NCF took over the Maybury Farm rebuild and operations on November 1, 2003.
The driving force was to open this farm for school children and families throughout southeast Michigan to visit and learn. After the fire and during negotiations people wanted to do something to help rebuild; the foundation began a "temporary" endowment where people could donate; we raised approximately $30,000 - wonderful but nowhere near what was needed.
REBUILDING EFFORTS UNDERWAY - In January 2004, the search began for "just the right barns" to replace those lost in the fire. New barn designs were offered however, it was felt that preservation and refurbishment of existing barns would be more in keeping with the authenticity and heritage of the original farm. The Barn Committee selected barns from the property now known as Island Lakes Subdivision in Novi. The exterior and interior details of the barns fit the farm perfectly - the barns were over 125 years old!
Thanks to the efforts of the Novi City Council and Toll Brothers the barn donation was made possible. Toll Brothers was the first corporation to take a major role in the rebuild. They generously donated the funds for the August 7, 2005 move of the barns - yes, we moved them as they stood - 40' tall and as wide as the two lane roads and their shoulders. DTE Energy, AT&T, and ITC were all very generous in donating their services to lift lines for the move. The 4 mile journey took 6 hours
EVERYONE STEPS UP TO HELP - From that day forward hundreds upon hundreds of individual and family donors and over 100 corporations stepped up to help the Northville Community Foundation rebuild Maybury Farm. Toll Brothers donated the foundation needed for the barns. Toll Brothers was and continues to be an enormous help with the rebuilding process.
We began meeting with builders, cement contractors, electricians, plumbers, excavators, architects, engineers, corporate leaders, and the list goes on and on. Through the in-kind donations we raised in excess of $1.4 million.
The Barns needed to be re-boarded. The exterior boards were taken off the barns years ago. In 2004 the "Buy a Board" campaign began with the goal of raising a significant amount of money to put new board on the barns. Once again while donations were wonderful we were still falling short. The Ford Motor Company and Visteon were major donors of manpower and expertise. The Northville Community Foundation received no tax dollars to rebuild; because of the outpouring of support from corporations and over 37 communities the rebuilding process was possible.
THE COMMUNITIES CELEBRATES - On September 20, 2005 the Northville Community Foundation re-opened Maybury Farm. Staying true to the Foundation's mission, this working farm offers educational programs and activities for all ages. In keeping with the history of our region's farming days, visitors experience a hands-on working farm filled with livestock, produce and harvested fields.
Even though we operate of a very tight budget, the operating costs at Maybury Farm are extensive. Animal feed and upkeep alone are in excess of $25,000 annually.
FORD MOTOR HONORED - On May 20, 2006 Ford Motor Company was one of many corporations nominated for the Governor's Service Award at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. In preparation for this event the State sent a film crew to Maybury Farm to film the accomplishments of our Ford Motor Volunteers as well as seeing them working first hand. Thanks to Mr. Bill Ford, the Foundation President was invited to the Fox Theater on May 20. The theater was filled with prospective award recipients of the Governor. Much to our surprise the lights were lowered and a screen descended with none other than all of the film of Maybury Farm. Ford Motor did receive the Governor's Award for Volunteerism and we felt honored that Maybury Farm played a role.
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING - Children are our most precious commodity and we embrace them at Maybury Farm. The Educational Programming available at Maybury Farm was compiled by educators along with people having farming knowledge and is in compliance with school curriculums even providing benchmarks. Schools have embraced the unique programming opportunities and are regular visitors to Maybury Farm.
MAYBURY FARM ACTIVITIES - Maple syruping, Farm Days, Dairy Days, Harvest Fest, sheep shearing, the Rustic Chef, planting, plowing demonstrations, and the Annual Corn Maze, are just a few of the attractions now at Maybury Farm.
SUPPORT - Maybury Farm receives no tax dollars to operate. We are on our own and must raise every dollar to continue to exist. How do we do this? It is a challenge but through the admission fee for the Farm, corporate donations, private donations and Grants. This is one of the ways that we are able to help.
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