ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (WCAX) – Giving old Vermont barns new looks. Monday, the Department of Labor and the Agency of Agriculture celebrated a successful barn-painting season and the folks who made it happen.
“I went out, brought the paint, pressure washed the side of the barn, and I thought to myself, when am I ever going to find the time to do this?” Diantha Jones said.
Diantha and Mitchell Jones purchased the Jones Farm in St. Johnsbury four years ago, and they realized the more than 125-year-old building needed a facelift.
“Right when we did that it became apparent that we needed to make the adjustments on the painting and both the sides,” Mitchell Jones said.
So a year ago they applied for the Vermont Barn Project grant, a project co-sponsored by donors, the Labor Department and the Agency of Agriculture.
Vermonters helping Vermonters– that’s the goal of the barn-painting project, where folks aged 16-24 were invited to come out, learn working skills and paint.
“Not only is a farm family getting a fresh coat of paint on their barns but we’re teaching lifelong skills to young people so we can take those skills into the workforce,” Vt. Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts said.
Nicholas Smith, 19, worked on two of the three farms repainted this summer. The Concord man says this experience makes him want to continue painting for a living.
“It’s relaxing, it’s more or less in the morning time and not in the middle of the night which I think is really good,” Smith said.
Sarah Morgan, 19, also worked on two barns.
“I liked coming out of my house because it at least gave me an opportunity to interact with a lot of people,” the East Concord woman said.
“Once they got painting it was awesome.” Diantha Jones said.
Each $10,000 grant saves farmers money and labor, and even allowed the Jones family to spend time on other projects.
“We spent a lot of time rotationally grazing our sheep and it’s been nice to have extra time to market our products,” Diantha Jones said.
For now, folks are admiring the fresh coat of paint and the hard work of the painters.
“I’m proud of it and I’m also like having the bittersweet feeling of I liked this barn and it turned out really great but it ended so soon, too,” Morgan said.
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