FARMINGTON A good turnout of volunteers at the west Farmington Grange’s building bee Sunday provided a healthy boost of labor to move forward plans for a commercial kitchen and food storage facility that will be open to the community and area farmers.

 “I wanted to help out because I am interested in local agriculture, and I think what the Grange is doing is great. It will mean our group will be able to expand our membership and provide a place to store food,” said Joel Alex, a member of the Farmington Food Co-op, who was hauling sand and rocks to fill in recent foundation work. The co-op has as many as 50 members who buy Maine produce in bulk at a discount.

Volunteers Sunday included families with kids, community members, Grange members and agricultural producers and buyers who frequent the Sandy River Farmers’ Market, the Farmington Farmers’ Market, the food co-op and the Western Maine Online Market.

Grange member Steve Sharoun said the turnout was better than expected.

“This is beyond our expectations,” he said.

By the end of the day, the walls for two large walk-in coolers in the basement had been framed, work was done on outside maintenance and foundation projects, and volunteers in the kitchen had prepared a hearty lunch, said Grange member Richard Marble.

To date, the 19th century building has been largely insulated and rewired, the plaster ceiling in the main hall repaired, foundation work done, and an antiquated furnace and duct work removed and replaced with an efficient pellet stove.

Work ahead this fall will include insulating the foundation walls in the basement and putting up Sheetrock for the coolers and a new bathroom, building low-cost storm windows and looking for good used commercial kitchen appliances, Marble said. For information, call 491-6166 or 778-6968.

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