LETTER. Thank you for your question.
The farm was clearly under insured for the devastation we experienced.
As for past land sales…in short…when Farmer Frank’s grandmother passed- who owned the majority of the farm and land parcels neighboring, her children all had different desires for their futures, most of which did not include farming.
The estate was sold off in parcels in an effort to evenly disperse between the kids.
This included the oldest 9 acres of farmland and the water rights which make the rest of the farm viable.
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In order to keep the farm, Miss Terry and Dino had to leverage everything they own and received in order to purchase that piece of the farm back.
Unfortunately, money from produce, pumpkins, and sunflowers isn’t enough to immediately offset debt.
While I can understand your thoughts, I think it’s perhaps impossible to imagine the stress that farms, particularly generational farms, experience.
In a time when arable land is shrinking, and the global need for food is exploding, and the farm land in question sits in the center of a desirable community where people want to build, the farmland would be worth more if we sold it to developers than farmed it.
Add to this the extreme shortage of willing and capable manual laborers, and you have a recipe for living paycheck to paycheck.
You may find this article interesting from CNBC.
Thank you again for this question as it’s such an important time for the general public to better understand the plight most farms will eventually face, as well as considering the impact the loss of these farms will have on the surrounding communities and the world.
If we don’t protect our farmland, we will pave over it, and lose the ability to produce food there forever.
Strong argument can be made that the protection of conventional farms is equally important as the protection and encouragement of organic and regenerative farms due the drastic shortage of arable land.
Here is another article from Earth Institute of Columbia University, October 22th, 2019
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Lunar New Year Valentines Barn Burner
I had planned to begin this post with lots of fun images of valentines crafts, farm treats, nutrition education, and seed ordering tips. Instead, I find myself stunned, shocked, and downright sad. All the beauty that seemed relevant just days ago doesn’t feel important now.
On Friday night, February 12th, 2021, our 100+ year old barn burned to the ground in a freak fire. We are devastated both emotionally and physically. Losing the barn is like losing a loved family member, a pillar of our community, the historic soul of the farm. Frank and I operate the pumpkin patch and sunflower field on the opposite side of the farm from the historic barn, and were in the midst of putting the two babes to sleep when the fire started. As Farmer Frank took the frantic call from his mom, Miss Terry, my phone began exploding with worried messages from friends, family, and neighbors all looking on in horror as our landmark barn stand became engulfed in flames. Photos and videos came streaming in of the burning barn, and tears began to flow. The fire team response was quick and amazing, and they were able to isolate the burn to the barn structure, protecting the two houses that flank the barn, as well as all our family, animals, and neighbors. Quite a feet considering the blaze.
Farmer Frank’s family has been on this same land farming for 3 generations, since 1926, and we are beginning to raise the 4th here as well. We all live here on the farm. The wood in that barn held stories of home made wine, countless pounds of artichokes, the blood, sweat, tears, and joy of generations. While we know and trust that the future is bright, and full of the support of our amazing community, this is a deep loss which will forever change the landscape of our town, on and off the farm. While we have insurance, it will fall far short of what was lost (think heirloom seed collections, tractors, specialty tractor parts which are no longer made, forklift, produce boxes, farmer’s market display booths, tools, vintage truck, family heirlooms, historic photos, tools, tubers and bulbs, and the list goes on) and we are going to need help to rebuild our buildings and produce sales operation.
While the historic barn is literally history, and we are mourning this legacy, we are also uplifted and awed by the outpouring of support from all of you. We appreciate everyone who has already made contact and offered support, and we ask for your continued prayers as we navigate toward a barn raiser.
If you are interested in supporting us you may do so in the following ways:
Frequent the Ocean View Driving Range, which will serve as the only source of income for Frank’s parents, Terry & Dino Andreotti, during this time. They are open 7 days a week, and its a great and Covid safe outdoor family activity.
Please support Farmer Frank at the Farmer’s Market in Sunnyvale on Saturdays, and Montclair on Sundays.
Please actively support the fast tracking of building permits at the city level by contacting the city in writing with your support for rebuilding the landmark with expediency and community support.
If you are able to donate some of your skills and or your products for our fundraising and/or barn raising efforts, please contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can donate directly to Terry & Dino Andreotti by stopping by the driving range.
Please subscribe to our blog and follow us on our social media channels for opportunities to join us on the farm and roll up your sleeves as we cleanup and rebuild. (Find us on Instagram @andreottifamilyfarms and on Facebook @andreottipumpkins )
You can contribute to our GoFundMe campaign
Once again we are just so thankful and appreciative for everyone’s kind words, and sharing of their own memories the barn held for them. We know that with the help of our special community we will rise from the ashes like a phoenix. This barn burner will become a barn raiser, with your help and support.
We will plan to host the pumpkin patch and you pick sunflower field despite this major setback, and we hope you will mark your fall calendars to share another amazing year here with us on the farm.
Thank you so much for your support!
With love and dirt,
The Farmer’s Wife
Andreotti Family Farms