Symbolizing strength in difficult times, generations of hard work and a fierce love of the land, American barns represent the history of the agriculture industry better than anything else. These barns, much like the farmers who tirelessly provide for local communities, deserve a standing ovation. Unfortunately, many of these beautiful barns aren’t being applauded, but rather abandoned.
American barns have stood strong and tall in agricultural communities for decades and now need the help of both farming communities and people in cities and towns everywhere, to keep them economically viable. Barn Believers Community Fund Project was created with a goal of raising awareness to save these barns before it’s too late. Established in 2017, Barn Believers educates the public on how to better care for barns, offers guidance to understand what options are available to preserve them and provides grants to expand outreach.
Jan Corey Arnett, author of American Barns, writer of the Michigan Farmer column, Barn Spotlight and one of the founders of Barn Believers, passionately advocates for American barns.
“Our entire focus is on getting people – barn owners and others – talking to one another, gaining knowledge for sound decision making and realizing when a wonderful barn is gone, it is gone forever. For many it's solely about economics, but decisions can still be a win-win for barns and barn owners,” Jan says. “Grants from Barn Believers can be used for a range of projects that inform and inspire people to save barns."
"Grants can be used to host seminars for barn owners to learn how to make or hire someone to make repairs. How to consider the best option for the barn, such as adapting them for new uses or dismantling and relocating them for a new life," Jan explains. "Grants can consist of children learning activities to share the history and value of traditional barns. These grants also help museums purchase archival storage materials so that barn photos and documents donated to a museum can be properly preserved.”
Barn Believers raises funds for these grants from donations which are professionally managed by the Battle Creek Community Foundation. This summer, Barn Believers will be collaborating with the Art Center of Battle Creek to continue spreading it's mission of saving barns and educating the public. The ‘Barns: A Call to Action’ exhibit will run from June 5 - July 27 and will include an art exhibit, model barn displays, activities for children, Q & A session with barn repair professionals and many other events.
“Our traditional barns are more than ‘iconic structures on the landscape’ as I hear quoted so often,” Jan says. "They symbolize America and are used in advertising to depict honesty, integrity, hard work and quality."
To learn more about the Barn Believers Community Fund Project, what actions you should be taking to preserve your barn or how you can donate, please click here. For more information on the ‘Barns: A Call to Action’ summer exhibit at the Art Center of Battle Creek, please click here.