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After a devastating fire destroyed the barn at Pete's Greens in Craftsbury on January 12 several Valley businesses have stepped up to help raise funds for farmer Pete Johnson to rebuild his barn. In less than a week after the disaster, well over a dozen Valley businesses have offered their support and financial contributions to a variety of fundraisers that are already underway.
American Flatbread in Waitsfield along with their other two Vermont
locations in Middlebury and Burlington are holding a Benefit Bake on
January 27 where a portion of the sales from the evening will be donated
to Pete's Greens. Pete's Greens has supplied American Flatbread with
produce for many years and the loss of their vegetables this winter will
be felt by American Flatbread and many other restaurants and stores
throughout the state.
Nancy Baron and Robin McDermott of the Mad River Valley Localvore Project are organizing a statewide online fundraiser auction for Pete's Greens. Baron, who was the CSA manager at Pete's Greens in 2008 and 2009, says that Pete's Greens is an important part of the local food movement in the state. "Several years ago Pete Johnson made a statement that 'Vermont can feed itself' and has been innovating since then to help Vermont achieve that goal. Johnson's year-round Good Eats CSA feeds over 1,000 people each week winter, spring summer and fall and included products not just from Johnson's farm but from several other farms throughout the region as well."
According to Localvore co-founder Robin McDermott, "Pete has been a good friend to the Mad River Valley contributing to the Souper Bowl in the past, donating literally tons of root vegetables to our Valley schools and helping assess the viability of the Kingsbury Farm as we were considering conserving it. Many restaurants and stores in The Valley use Pete's produce and this loss will make it a little harder for Vermonters to eat local this winter, at a time when it was just starting to get easier."
While the online auction is a statewide effort, several Valley businesses wasted no time offering their support. Sugarbush and David M. Dion Real Estate are sponsors of the auction. Other businesses have made donations that will be offered for bid. George Schenk, the Round Barn Farm and the Mad River Valley Localvore Project are all offering inning experiences. Karl Klein of Kleinworks will build a custom Adirondack chair from local and sustainable wood for one bidder. Baked Beads has donated a $250 gift certificate to their Memorial Day tent sale and private shopping the day before the sale starts. Sugarbush chef Gerry Nooney has contributed his services butchering a pig, lamb or deer. Other donations from Valley businesses include Rick Rayfield's Peanut Brittle, In-Design training from Bev Kehoe, an overnight stay at Lareau Farm, counseling services from Bobbi Rood, a framed photograph from Ember Photography and one-on-one training in how to take digital photography from Corey Hendrickson.
McDermott remembers the outpouring of support from around the state when the Turner barn collapsed in the Valentine's Day snow in 2007. "It is events like this that remind us that Vermonters are generous and caring people who will do what it takes to help their neighbor whether they live across the street or across the state. The outpouring of support for Pete's Greens in their time of need has been heartwarming, just as it was when the Turner's were helped by the community a few years back.
The online auction starts on January 23and ends at 10 a.m. on January 30. There is a wide range of items. The auction will be open for preview the evening of January 22. Baron says, "There are so many amazing items in the auction, many for six people or more. You'll want to get together with some friends and plan a bidding strategy."
More information about the auction is available at www.BidfortheBarn.org.