Saturday, March 20, 2010

Roll with the punches...tomorrow is another day

Okay so I stole the title for the post from the movie Jerry Maguire, which is not exactly my favourite, but the point of the quote seems fitting for the context of the blog post.

On our Skeeter Farm blog we have tended to focus on writing nice shiney, happy posts about things like sunshine, bountiful harvests and lady bugs, the sense of community, success of our business and hopes and dreams for the future. I would say what we talk about paints a 90% accurate depiction of our experiences farming thus far. What we have hesitated telling our readers about is that other 10% of the time where we are dirty, sweaty, sore, have feelings of frustration and defeat, unhappy about something or other and all the time spent scratching our hundreds of bug bites. These not so great things I think we have come to realize are part of farming, growing and running a business in partnership, and life in general.

Overall, we have managed to balance out the good with the not so great and come out on top which is really our motivation to keep on going. BUT, then something really crappy happens that in some ways knocks us back to square one.

This week we discovered that the farm had been broken into (for the second time) and most of our equipment that we worked hard to purchase last year is gone. Most of our irrigation system, our (borrowed) rototiller, marketing supplies, and other misc. items that are to us, very valuable but to anyone other than a small farmer, are probably worth very little, were stolen.

Now, its not really surprising that our site would be a target to thieves. We are pretty isolated with no neighbours in earshot of the site, and no one living on the farm. We thought we had taken reasonable measures to lock up our equipment but obviously what we had done was no deterrent for the thieves.

The more we talk about what has happened, the more stories we are hearing about how this is actually a pretty common occurrence in the farming world. Which, for any farmer I would imagine is really hard to deal with. It stinks to think about our profits being cut this year by having to purchase our equipment again. And if we do manage to replace what we have lost, how do we keep it from being stolen again?

Post break-in discovery we wallowed in our frustration and hopelessness for a bit but have now switched to problem solving mode. We are trying to figure out how increase the security of our storage, and come up with creative ways to replace what we have lost without going out and buying brand new shiny equipment. We scouring craigslist to see if our equipment turns up and trying to talk to as much people as possible to raise awareness of this issue that leaves new farmers and their potential success vulnerable to the motives of the thieves of the world.

Hannah said to me the other day that if this had happened to us last year, she wouldn't be farming. I think that may be true for myself too...having our equipment stolen in our first season would have been enough to turn us away from trying to start a farm business forever. With that, I am thankful that we have had a season under our belt and have been able to experience the joys that come with growing food for our community and I am thankful that this didn't happen midseason in the height of things and I am thankful for all of the things that we do still have, like our seeds, that we will need to continue this season. We are all thankful for the support folks have offered us in these trying times.

I would imagine that the farm bandits who took advantage of Skeeter Farm are much less cute than us.



  1. as frequent customers of yours last year via the farm market, I would hate to see you guys set back from mindless thieves, who think only about the short term gains of petty theft, and not about the long term bad karma. if you have power and a phone line(which I doubt but at least power) I can set you up with a free security alarm, that will at least scare the more honest thieves away. Let me know if you want it, no charge to you at all, I would be grateful if you would trade a full share csa for it? and if not, consider it a donation.

  2. Thank you for your kind offer! I have emailed you.

  3. farmers already work too hard for too little! It's an outrage that people would steal from you. Best of luck for the good karma you deserve in future.

  4. Stay strong everyone! You're doing such amazing stuff.

  5. This really blows, but good work staying positive. My thoughts go out to you and if I hear of any equipment that could be donated I'll let you know.

  6. ARGGGHHHHH! I am so sorry to hear about your experience and how disheartening it must be. I also appreciate your willingness to remind yourselves what you are grateful for, in the midst of loss. As you know I am starting up my own farming business this year and can only imagine how I might feel should this happen to me. I will email you to figure out where to send you a donation to contribute to your rebuilding. Dale

  7. Hey Dale! We are curious about how the farm plans are going. Send us an email soon. As for donations, seeing as you aren't the first one to mention sucks that we lost our stuff, but we will be fine for this year. We aren't going to replace all of what we lost, and will just make do with whatever used equipment we can scrape together. So thank you for your thought, but we should be okay!

    The best way to support us, and any farmer for that matter, is to make sure to buy from local farmers whenever it is possible. We will be announcing our farmers market schedule for the season soon on the blog, so hopefully all of these nice folks who have been offering support will come out and support us by buying our stuff at the market.