Learning life skills: State’s largest Farm in the Dell group home to open near Butte

2013-10-09T00:00:00Z Learning life skills: State’s largest Farm in the Dell group home to open near ButteBy Renata Birkenbuel of The Montana Standard Montana Standard

An 8,860-square-foot Farm in the Dell nonprofit group home has gone up at Buxton, southwest of Butte.

A lone salmon-colored house, roaming antelope and a sweeping landscape with killer views make for an isolated but

welcoming farm set up exclusively for developmentally disabled adults.

Program manager John Castle II and resource developer Mark Bartels fought the chilly fall winds Tuesday to build a metal tool shed on the east side of the home.

“We have to get this done before the weather turns,” said Castle, a Butte native who previously worked with at-risk youth in a day treatment program in Vancouver, Wash. “That’s why we started at oh dark thirty this morning.”

Way out on Pronghorn Trail off Buxton Road South lies the eye-catching home, which will house six residents at full capacity. It has six bedrooms, four bathrooms, an expansive kitchen, a rec room and a sun-drenched living room that faces south.

The first Farm in the Dell to go up in southwest Montana, the farm is one of several nonprofit 5013c homes scattered throughout the state, including Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell and Broadus.

“We planned the property for another home, if there’s a need,” said Bartels, who lives in Helena. The home sits on a sprawling 91 acres, the largest one in the state.

Castle and an eventual staff of six will provide around-the-clock care for residents, who learn basic life skills that he says most folks take for granted.

Raising cattle, chickens and produce in a greenhouse are among the life skills. Castle hopes residents can sell eggs and produce at farmers’ markets. Eventually, the goal is for the farm to be self-sustainable.

Inside, residents learn cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene, among other independent skills.

“We’re trying to be a different take on a group home,” said Bartels, who writes grants, trains staff and fundraises. “It’s not a group home where they sit and watch TV. Residents can become contributing members of the community.”

— Reach reporter Renata Birkenbuel at Renata.birkenbuel@lee.net and (406) 496-5512.

Copyright 2015 Montana Standard. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) Comments

  1. Big Ralph
    Report Abuse
    Big Ralph - October 09, 2013 9:40 am
    I want to applaud this different approach to a group home for developmentally disabled.I wish you the best success.

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