Farm In The Dell is a program started in Kalispell during the 1980's to house adults with learning disabilities, while simultaneously providing activities and opportunities for them. There are eight properties in the state of Montana.
Steve Lettengarver is currently raising money for Montana's newest Farm In The Dell, called Rocky Mountain Front, at a site in Fairfield.
The privately-owned land will eventually be able to house up to twelve adults spread across two houses, and complete with other amenities like gardening, greenhouses and corrals. By keeping it private, Lettengarver says they can ultimately decide who they select to live on the property, keeping tenants who are familiar with the area.
“We can keep local members, who grew up here, they know everybody, they’ve been here forever,” says Lettengarver. “You might end up with someone from Libby living in Fairfield if it’s run by the state, and they’d be far from their family, so that’s why we’re trying to stay on the private side.”
Currently there is a barn on-site, and a grant secured to begin construction on corrals, a well, and fencing. Gas and electric has also been installed at the site, and general land improvements have been conducted.
Steve has a daughter of his own with a learning disability and knows how she and others like her can truly benefit.
“I have a 25 year old handicapped daughter that would fit into the operation. So that was kind of how we got started. I’ have a place for her that would be hers to go on and pursue her life. You know, everybody gets a chance to grow up and be an adult. This would be a place to do it. They got their own their own thing, and they can do their own own lifestyle. They don't not follow mom and dad around,” says Lettengarver.
Lettengarver hopes to have the project done by next summer, but in order to secure a grant to construct the housing, the Rocky Mountain Front group still need several hundred thousand dollars raised to reach their $800,000 goal. To learn more or to donate, click here.
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