Woodwynn Farms is quiet these days, with its front gate locked and no visitors to its market. The therapeutic farming community has ceased operations as of March 30, and all staff have been laid off.
According to the chair of the Creating Homefulness Society, Teri duTemple, the society just did not have the money to continue.
They have an accepted purchase offer that is still conditional, and the purchaser is working on the subject conditions. duTemple did not name the buyer, citing a non-disclosure agreement. It would be up to the buyer to disclose that information, either after the sale becomes non-conditional or once they gain possession, she said.
“We’re in a holding pattern,” said duTemple.
There is no operational program at the moment, but there are still vendors and debts to pay. The society has hired a caretaker because there are still animals on the property.
“We need someone to be on the property to take care of things, so that’s where we’re at.”
Longtime executive director Richard Leblanc is no longer employed with the Society. He and another employee were living on the farm, but received end-of-tenancy notices for April 10.
In an email in March to the PNR, Leblanc said he was under gag order, so could not comment on the situation.
The society is still functioning, with a board of directors.
“Our role right now is to make sure the animals are cared for, that the property is managed in care and maintenance only…and hoping that we can keep the non-profit, the Creating Homefulness Society, alive at the end of the day once the sale goes through,” said duTemple. “That will depend on what money we have once it goes through.”
duTemple wants the society to continue.
“We are all in this together because we wanted to work with the homeless, and we still believe in that mission. Our hope is that the sale goes through without problem and that we have money left over to put towards a new project.”
She said it was too early to tell what the next step for the society would be.
“To be honest, the last few weeks have been dealing with the wind-down and the logistics with that,” she said.
“We have some ideas of what we could do. Either partner with another organization or support a similar-type project. We’ve lots of ideas that have been floated.”