Community rallies to support vegetable farmers after devastating fire

They're already rebuilding after a fire torched their only greenhouse.
Author:
Publish date:

Vegetable farmers in southeast Minnesota are hurrying to rebuild their only greenhouse after a fire destroyed it before the sun came up Monday, March 11. 

Heartbeet Farm in Zumbro Falls, a staple provider at the Rochester Farmer's Market, was severely damaged by a fire that was caused by sparks from a wood stove. The fire torched their only greenhouse, destroying more than 65,000 onion and shallot seeds they planted in preparation for the growing season. 

"This loss is a massive setback for us as it was a key piece of our infrastructure as a working farm and it is extremely timely that it be re-built asap as it is seed starting time," Heartbeet Farms co-owner Rebecca Wright Schwen wrote in an online fundraiser

"Unforeseen accidents are never part of a small farm’s financial plan for the year. This setback comes at a time of year when farm income is at it's lowest and equals a major loss of time as we try to get rolling for the season."

The charred remains inside the greenhouse. 

The charred remains inside the greenhouse. 

Fortunately, the community has stepped up in a big way, donating more than $17,000 to a GoFundMe for Heartbeet Farm, which is more than double the $8,000 the family farmers were hoping to raise in order to rebuild and get back on their feet as fast as possible. 

The donations will help them replace a laundry list of needs, including a new furnace/boiler, north wall of the greenhouse, electrical needs, thermostats, fans, heat mats, germination, plant trays, potting soil, hoses and replacement seeds for the thousands that were destroyed. 

Doubling the fundraising goal is beyond the farmers' wildest expectations, noting that "our jaws dropped to the floor." 

Amazingly, just three full days after the fire, despite many small jobs and debris cleanup yet to do, they've already replaced the plastic covering, a wood boiler is set up outside the greenhouse and replacement seeds have been ordered. 

"We will recover from this minor catastrophe and we feel stronger than ever with the vocal support of our community surrounding us," Wright Schwen wrote in an update Wednesday. 

Next Up

Matt Dumba

Matt Dumba beats the clock to give Wild sixth straight win

Dumba scored as overtime came to a close for another Wild victory.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Bradley Beal terrorizes Timberwolves in loss to Wizards

Beal and the Wizards handed the Wolves their seventh straight defeat.

Marcus Carr / Gopher basketball

Gophers tourney hopes take another blow with loss to Nebraska

Marcus Carr scored a career-high 41 points, but Minnesota is still winless on the road.

St. Paul police

St. Paul police arrest teenage boy in carjacking crackdown

This comes amid a dramatic spike in Twin Cities carjackings.

snow

Snow latest: Twin Cities set for up to 4 inches

A narrow system will travel across Minnesota overnight.

Blake Fredrick / Lake City Basketball

Lake City boys basketball player signs contract, honored on senior night

Frederick had a special call-up to the Tigers' varsity basketball team.

ambulance

Man dies after being shot outside home near Grove City

He was found outside a home in Acton Township.

Screen Shot 2021-02-27 at 9.39.00 AM

Teen wounded in 'accidental shooting' in Moorhead

The 18-year-old was shot in the abdomen.

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

Watch: Another absurd night for Kaprizov as his legend grows

Kaprizov scored a crazy wrap-around goal in the Wild's victory over the Kings.

Related

Community rallies to save organic farm's cows from blaze

The blaze is a huge loss for Crystal Ball Farms.

Students rally behind owner who lost store in arson fire

Seniors from Washburn High School in Minneapolis are helping the owner.

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 9.55.23 AM

Viral video: After farmer's death, local growers rally to combine his fields

A video showing the farmers at work has been viewed millions of times.

Ronnie Guy

Fundraiser set up for beloved community activist after house fire

Ronnie Guy, a local dad, found himself displaced this week.

Screen Shot 2019-11-18 at 9.11.13 AM

Cancer patient loses her two dogs, home in devastating fire

Jennifer Reinardy woke to her dogs panicking after fire broke out in her living room.

Screen Shot 2019-12-25 at 11.08.02 AM

Support effort grows after more than 200 displaced by downtown fire

The Christmas Day fire has left families already struggling without anywhere to go.

Screen Shot 2019-05-31 at 10.48.49 AM

Firefighters 'unknowingly at great risk' of 'very rapidly growing fire'

There was more than a thousand gallons of fuel in in the garage that caught fire.