An Open letter of Thanksgiving from Featherstone Farm
To the Sow the Seeds Fund and all its Contributors, Large and Small-
It is often said that farmers are the world’s great optimists.And like all clichés, there’s a grain of truth in this; there is a feeling of vitality and possibility in a warm spring breeze on the farm that could brighten the spirits of the darkest cynic.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to work the land and feel that familiar glow of delight when the first seeds of spring are sown- we are optimists at heart.We do what we do in large part because it is a labor of love: love for the soil and land that sustains us, for the act of creating and providing good food for people, and ultimately for the larger community which surrounds and supports our farm.
But oh, how that optimism was tested this summer!Saturday, August 18, I picked cantaloupes and watermelons all day in a steady rain with a crew of 8, and closed the door on an entire cooler full of ripe fruit at about .The rain continued harder and harder all evening.At the power gave out, and with it the refrigeration on all those melons.Sometime before dawn, flash flooding tore through our farmyard and filled our packing shed with 30” of sediment laden creek water.Acres and acres of crops were swept away, many of them just on the brink of maturity. In 24 hours, we had lost a third of our entire season’s work.
The lowest point for me was that Tuesday morning, when we had to throw 80% of those melons in the compost because they had gone soft in a warm cooler.We laid off half of our employees that week.The word bankruptcy was in the air.
And then, word came that help was on the way.Concerned customers near and far had taken the initiative to raise funds for flood relief:on the lead horse of the cavalry, carrying the highest and brightest flag was the Sow the Seeds Fund.
I remember one phone call in particular from that first week of flood recovery.It was from Rhys Williams at Co-op Partners Warehouse, reporting on the gifts pouring into Sow the Seeds from across the nation.This phone call reduced me to tears of gratitude: it was at this moment that I realized our farm would survive this terrible ordeal.
I can’t tell you how much the support of Sow the Seeds and its contributors has meant to us at Featherstone.I am humbled by your generosity.Your energy has renewed my optimism, at a time when that warm April breeze seems distant.
I offer my most heartfelt Thanksgiving to Sow the Seeds, and to everyone who supported the Fund with contributions, large and small.
Gratefully,Featherstone Farm November 15, 2007
Co-op Members Can Contribute, Too Support Sow the Seeds by donating online or by using your Sow the Seeds membership card instead of your personal membership number when you check out at your co-op. How to use your Sow the Seeds card.