July 17th 2013
Hello Seeds and Spores Supporters,
We are in full recovery mode out here at the farm, and have had time to do nothing else but keep pushing forward. The tremendous support from our community has been energizing us. Basic things, such as eating and sleeping, are helping us, too. We are adjusting to the new normal. Our farm crew has been amazing, strong, flexible, and cohesive.
Friday night, the fire dept. had to return because the gravity bin full of organic corn kept smoldering and covering the neighborhood with smoke. The fire investigation necessitated that the collapsed metal roof be removed. Once this was done on Monday, an excavator was able to remove all of the rotting remains of the food from our cooler and freezers. This improved the smell significantly! After this first round of excavating, some of the pallets of mineral started smoking again and, last night there were flames. They were controlled with water from the well. We are hoping that we are done with smoke and flames now.
Our makeshift wash/pack tent has been working fine. Our neighbors found us a washing machine to spin the lettuce mix. Another donated tent has become our “kitchen”. We are renting a semi trailer to be used for dry storage. We have also been renting a walk in cooler on Green Garden Hill and have been using a friend’s covered trailer for transporting produce. This weeks CSA (community supported agriculture) boxes were packed right out of the cooler. We made it to the farmers market on Saturday and have still been able to fill our Marquette Food Co-op orders.
We purchased a refrigerated trailer that is being transported from Wisconsin. Having this parked right at the farm will be very helpful. We also just received a pallet of livestock minerals so that we can start mixing feed again. A large shipment of bins has just arrived. These are important for the CSA, harvesting, storage in the cooler, and the farmers’ market. The replacement seeds for succession planting have been arriving. We have also been replacing tools, the printer, berry containers, egg boxes, harvesting supplies, labels, veggie bags etc.
The intense heat and lack of rain this week has been a bit challenging, so we have had to spend a lot of time and effort to keep the irrigation moving over all the fields and in the greenhouses. The animals are hot and listless, too. Swimming in the Chocolay River has been refreshing to us during lunch and at the end of the day!
Most importantly, you need to know how much we appreciate your outpouring of love and support. The kind words and encouragement are so helpful to us. The music benefit and auction at the Ore Dock Brewery was packed last night. Many thanks to all of you who created this event, donated music, art and auction items, and also to those who attended.
This donation page, which was created by some of our friends, blows us away. We are receiving donations from friends, family, neighbors, local customers, and generous folks from other states that we have not yet met. Please understand that we are so grateful to you all. Our tragic fire is bringing everyone together in a way that we never could have imagined. We feel the love and hope you do, too.
Seeds and Spores Family Farm would not exist if our community didn’t have visions and dreams of healthy food and lifestyles, conscious consumerism, and a vibrant local economy. Thank you all.
Jeff, Leanne, Niikah, Aleutian and Rubin Hatfield
Jeff, Cricket (Kristin), Bella, Solen and Ida Chiodi
July 10th 2013
We were awoken at 4:45am on July 8th 2013 in the morning with a phone call that the barn was on fire. We watched it burn to the ground as the 4 local fire departments tried to contain the blaze. If you haven’t seen it, there is footage online filmed by WLUC TV 6.
More than anything, we keep reminding ourselves, and we need you to know, that all of us involved out here are safe.
We lost 2 hives of bees and are looking for one of the barn cats, but all of the pigs, chickens, turkeys, lambs, ducks, beef cattle, dairy cows, one barn cat, and the border collie are safe, too. The fields of vegetables and fruits are still vibrant.
We hope you had a chance over the years to see the barn. The original structure was built in the 1940’s and the craftsmanship was timeless. A pole building was attached later and we added two shed roofs. We retrofitted the building and used it for our wash- pack area, walk in cooler, walk in freezer, sprout room, oyster mushroom fruiting room, egg processing area, milking parlor, office, shop, mineral and fertilizer warehouse, seed storage, game room, lunchroom, general storage...
As the burning images rage in our tired minds, we have found something that shines even brighter than the flames. The outpouring of love, concern, support and help from our friends and the amazing community of Marquette is so beautiful and appreciated that it cannot be further expressed in words. We have obviously shed some tears about our losses, but it is the support and kindness that brings us to tears now.
Despite the fact that all of our harvesting, packing, and so much other equipment was lost in the fire, we are currently working out of a make shift wash–pack area under a tent and are renting a walk-in cooler.
Thanks again from the farm crew and the farmers, Jeff & Jeff, Carrie, Chris, Byron, Paul, Chelsea, Aaron, Elena, Alli, &Sheila
We did have insurance but probably not enough to cover the losses. It is hard to say an exact number of course, but we estimate around $300,000 -$400,000 loss between the structure and inventory. We had about $120,000-$130,000 worth of coverage. We may be able to recover a little more with some purchases covered by Visa, and coverage by our homeowners insurance for personal belongings.