Friday, February 25, 2011

Pete's Greens Outlines Plans to Reinvest Donated Funds

Owner Pete Johnson says community support will inform and inspire their work for years to come.
Destroyed barn was heart of farm operation.

Craftsbury, VT., February 22, 2011—Rising out of the ashes of a barn which was destroyed in a fire on January 12 at Pete’s Greens is an initiative to ensure that funding is available for other Vermont farmers in the future.

Recent donations through a variety of fundraisers will provide Pete’s Greens with an opportunity to rebuild the barn as a more efficient building that will better suit the farms needs. However, Pete Johnson, owner of Pete’s Greens, anticipates that within two to three years, the farm will be able to pay the money forward and has plans to create a fund that will support Vermont agricultural businesses.

“We have been so overwhelmed by how generous everyone has been and we want this money to live on again another day,” said Pete Johnson. “The idea is that in a few years from now, we’ll start to put the money into a fund that will be managed by a committee or board made up of local folks. That money will go back out into the community to be used in a variety of ways: farm disaster relief, farm to school programs or loans to new or small farms. We are committed to paying it forward. It’s being given to us with such love and thoughtfulness that we really want the funding to do more good work down the line.”

The barn that was destroyed in the January fire housed the farm’s wash-house, stored vegetables and meats, vegetable coolers, vegetable washing and packing equipment, a walk-in freezer, tractors and a significant amount of supplies. Johnson indicated after the fire that the structure was under-insured. He had set values on the barn in recent years but hadn’t added the new additions or equipment to the insurance policy. The result was an under-insurance policy for approximately 50% of the replacement cost of the building and the equipment. In addition, the $250,000 worth of stored vegetables and meats were also not insured.

“We’ve been focused on getting permits and developing the plans for the new building with the goal of breaking ground in early March,” said Johnson. “If all goes well, the building will be in full use by mid-June which means we’ll be back to full production capacity.”

Despite suffering the catastrophe of the barn fire, Pete’s Greens is gearing up for a successful spring and summer growing season for its retail and CSA membership programs. Sign-up is underway already for Summer CSA shares and joining the CSA offers an additional way to support Johnson as he and the farm crew begin to plant for the summer harvest. A spring share will also be offered and is anticipated to begin in April.

Pete's Greens is a four season organic vegetable farm located in Craftsbury, VT and owned by Peter Johnson. The farm's top priority is growing a wide variety of crops to feed Vermonters year round. Good Eats is based on the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model in which customers pay up front for vegetables and other farm products receiving a share each week. Shares at Pete’s Greens save members an average of 18% per week over retail prices. Pete’s Greens vegetables are also sold at regional stores and restaurants as well as local farmers’ markets. More information is available at www.PetesGreens.com.

Contact Amy Skelton at amy@petesgreens.com or 802-586-2882, ext 1 for questions.

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