Featherstone Farm is a 250 acre, certified organic farm, located in the bluff country of Rushford, Minnesota. The farm produces around 70 varieties of fresh market fruits and vegetables for distribution to local co-ops, restaurants and grocers, wholesalers and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members throughout the region. Featherstone Farm is dedicated to creating a truly sustainable agriculture system. That includes geothermal heating and cooling for the packing shed, as well as a solar array that generates about 60 percent of the farm’s energy.
Featherstone Farm’s Pandemic Response
“There’s been good news and bad for us. People are preparing more food in their own kitchens. They are consuming more produce from local markets like ours. There’s reasons for optimism in this very narrow way, but in the bigger picture it is much, much more difficult picture.” – Jack Hedin, Featherstone Farm owner
In an effort to support food access in their local community, Featherstone Farm began the Featherstone Farm Community Food Fund. This fund allows community members to purchase a share at a reduced price for donation to a local food shelf.
For Featherstone Farm, the impacts of the pandemic touch farther than the farm itself. During the growing season Featherstone Farm employs nearly 40 people, including seasonal staff, many of whom arrive from Mexico with a guest worker visa. The visas afford workers protections like travel safety, job security, a living wage and farm sponsored housing. This year additional precautions were taken to ensure the safety of Featherstone staff. Those who traveled to work at Featherstone for the season were required to quarantine on arrival and were tested for COVID-19 before they were able to begin work. In addition to daily cleaning and sanitizing practices, Featherstone has adapted their operation to accommodate social distancing and CDC guidance to ensure the health of all their staff.
Hear from the staff of Featherstone Farm about how the pandemic has impacted their lives and work.