A pasture-based farm family north of Unadilla and Energy Rescue Inc. of Omaha are planning a two-day music event to assemble volunteers to complete a barn raising.
Farm Fest 2013 is officially scheduled Aug. 3 at the farm Andy and Laura Chisholm rent near Road D east of 18th Street north of Unadilla, but event organizers say volunteers are welcome to camp out overnight to continue work on Sunday.
The Chisolms moved from Georgia in 2007 to farm in Nebraska, but health problems and the struggle to establish a small dairy appeared to be pushing their dream out of reach.
After trying a farm share, they found land to rent near Elmwood and bought equipment to start a mini-creamery. That arrangement eroded over issues of pasture management.
Finally, they met Lowell Fey, a Nebraska City landowner who recognized the value of a creamery and had an appreciation for their pasture management style.
Work began on a dairy barn, but it had halted by February. While the issues of what happened to the money invested for the construction are worked out in Otoe County courts, the Chisolms' reached out for help.
Tanya Ward of Energy Rescue Inc., a non-profit based in Omaha dedicated to helping people when public utilities have been shut off and seeking ways to lower their energy bills, said the farm fits her organization's mission because it produces food for families.
"I support clean foods made in Nebraska," she said.
Through prior benefits featuring music and art, the barn raising began.
"This all started with an ill-poured slab of cement," she said. "Now we have a barn with a roof. It's a barn that is being built by love."
The work envisioned for the Aug. 3 event includes erecting interior walls and non-skilled jobs to make the 40 x 60 building functional.
When finished it will have a milking room, cheese plant with viewing window and a store upfront.
A number of live music providers from South Dakota to Kansas City are being booked, including Trixie and the Nooners, Prairie Gators, Dr. Webb and Conga Momma.