When we started our farming adventure, one thing that was hugely important for us was to create a farm connected to our community. Indeed, we are working to make our farm pleasant and available to our community so that people can enjoy not only our products but also the animals, the land, and all the good things that a farm can offer. While planning this we were not really considering the other side of this relationship: how much the community would be investing in us.
We recently had a very difficult day at the farm, and we had the opportunity to observe our community getting together to support us. It was truly impressive. We had a very tight schedule that started at 6:00am with opening the farm and clearing the barn for the new litter of piglets arriving the next day, then a trip to Addison to check out piglets from one of our breeders. Then for Farmer Ale it was time to drive back up to Burlington to teach for 4 consecutive hours and then back to Hinesburg to close the farm while Farmer Charles was planning to care for our daughter, set up the new 75 chicks arriving the next day, and buy a car (our main vehicle died on us after 18 years of reliable work). Well, things never go as planned, as we have seen in a number of occasions. Our truck (and only functioning vehicle) broke down while Farmer Ale was driving back home from her class, and the post office informed us that the chicks were ready for pick up!
We had no way to get to the farm to close the animals, we did not have a way to pick up the chicks or get to the mechanic's shop to purchase the car ... now what?
This is when the community support started kicking in. The post office clerk from Hinesburg drove to Essex Junction post office to pick up the chicks and then drove them to our place because "she was concerned about the little guys." A friend from Charlotte quickly found a way to feed her three kids, leave them with her husband, drive to our place, and take Farmer Charles to the mechanic's (and let him borrow the car seat for our daughter). Two other friends from Burlington drove Farmer Ale to Hinesburg to the farm and patiently waited in the car while outside it was pouring cats and dogs and then drove the wet passenger back to her house. As if that was not enough, they brought food and cooked for our exhausted farmers. So ... we safely closed the farm, bought the car, and got the chicks fed, warm, and happy, and even managed to eat a savory meal.
Truly an amazing day -- thanks everyone!!!